New Zealand Shareholders' Association Annual Awards
THE BEACON AWARD
The New Zealand Shareholders Association each year gives its award for outstanding performance, judged against the following criteria:
- Leadership and guidance on corporate practice.
- Bravery in standing out from the crowd on issues that are controversial and taking stands against the trend on issues of governance, transparency, and individual conduct.
- Conducting himself/herself in a manner that is a guide to others, ignoring self-interest, and putting the concerns of others to the fore.
- Behaving in a manner that is respectful of the rights of others and treating the smallest shareholder with the respect of a business owner.
- Working within the rules and best practice while ensuring fair and equitable outcomes for all.
- Or such other acts as may, from time to time, be identified by the executive board of the New Zealand Shareholders’ Association.
Beacon Award winners to date are:
- 2019 - Sir Stephen Tindall
- 2018 - Don Braid (Mainfreight)
- 2017 - Rob Campbell (Summerset, Tourism Holdings)
- 2016 - Michael Daniell (Fisher & Paykel Healthcare)
- 2015 - Tony Carter (Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Air NZ)
- 2014 - Joan Withers (Mighty River Power)
- 2013 - Sean Hughes (Financial Markets Authority)
- 2012 - John Parker (Port of Tauranga)
- 2011 - Simon Challies (Ryman Healthcare)
- 2010 - Rob Fyfe (Air New Zealand)
- 2009 - Michael Hill (Michael Hill International)
- 2008 - Bruce Plested (Mainfreight)
- 2007 - Tony Gibbs (Guinness Peat Group)
- 2006 - Brian Gaynor (Milford Asset Management)
- 2005 - Simon Botherway (Brook Asset Management)
- 2004 - Ralph Waters (Fletcher Building)
- 2003 - Kevin O'Connor (Infratil)
- 2002 - Rod Deane (Telecom)
The NZSA 2019 Beacon Award Winner is Sir Stephen Tindall
Sir Stephen Tindall has made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand Business and Society throughout his life which is marked by many significant milestones. In 1982 he founded The Warehouse, in 1995 with his wife Margaret he set up the Tindall Foundation, in 1997 he was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit, in 1999 Sir Stephen founded K1W1, in 2002 he co-founded KEA and in 2007 he was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit which was elevated to Knight Grand Companion in 2019.
The Beacon Award recognises outstanding achievement across a range of criteria including leadership, bravery, conduct, respect, best practice and fair and equitable outcomes for all.
Sir Stephen is a worthy recipient of the 2019 Beacon Award across all criteria. K1W1 was created to assist young entrepreneurs to grow New Zealand as a leader in the knowledge economy by investing in New Zealand start-ups and early stage companies. Today over $250 million has been invested in seed and venture capital. K1W1’s efforts have made a significant contribution to New Zealand’s businesses, economy and provided opportunities for investors. KEA connects New Zealand's one million strong global expat community to make high impact global connections for Kiwis and Kiwi businesses, which now boast a global community of 800,000. The legacy that Sir Stephen has built continues to foster prosperity for all.
The NZSA 2018 Beacon Award Winner is Mr Don Braid, Group Managing Director of Mainfreight
Embracing a company motto that “Success is a Journey, not a Destination” Managing Director Don Braid is focussed on a vision to make Mainfreight a 100-year company. With 40 years freight and logistics experience, 24 of them at Mainfreight, he has had time to develop the strategy to achieve this.
The first is to always tell it like it is. More importantly is to have the skill and foresight to build a culture of inclusion where the whole team sees and believes the company’s focus and aspirations. This trait is far from universal in senior management.
The Beacon Award guidelines has five specific guidance criteria. Don Braid is remarkable in that he meets all five. He demonstrates the most important characteristic of leadership, the ability to empower others and to allow the whole team to take ownership of success and learn from failure. In Dons world, excellent is described as satisfactory, and average becomes disappointing. At the same time, he is relentlessly positive and willing to take on challenges that many consider too daunting. Respect for the team is tangible with public commitments to lift wages for everyone well above the norm. Respect for meeting the needs of customers is a never-ending priority. A flat management structure is the tool.
Unlike so many other business leaders, Don is also willing to take a public position on broader issues both commercial and political. And he is not greatly enthused committees, professional groups or the latest business fad, preferring instead to rely on experience, action and coal-face realism in an ever-changing world. Don Braid as leader of the Mainfreight team is a most worthy winner of the NZSA 2018 Beacon Award.
The NZSA 2017 Beacon Award Winner is Mr Rob Campbell, Chairman of Summerset, Chairman of Tourism Holdings, Chairman Elect Sky City.
Rob Campbell says that his business philosophy “is of being open to impermanence.” His own life is a study of that condition. He qualified with a BA(Hons) in Economic History and Political Science and then an MPhil in Economics. In the 1970’s he was a leading activist in the Union movement and by the 80’s seemed destined to reach the very top of organised labour. However being appointed to the boards of Government owned organisations started to bring about a change in outlook.
Rob worked largely out of public sight until elected to the GPG board during a shareholder revolt in 2011. He has since taken several high profile directorships, each in a very different segment. That suits Rob, who is known for his ability to identify the big issues and bring a keen and deeply enquiring mind to the task.
The Beacon Award guidelines talks about bravery in standing out from the crowd on issues that are controversial, about being respectful of owners and ensuring fair and equitable outcomes. NZSA has given Rob this award, not just because of the strong performance of listed companies he Chairs, nor even his demonstrated ability to manage assets, build organisational capabilities or bring needed change. Rather, it is for his willingness to speak out on issues without fear or favour. His comments around directors needing to take a more hands on approach, to manage the managers, to not be tick box governors, the limited imagination of some boards and the disconnect between reality and how bankers and finance professionals are remunerated may not be universally applauded. But all are pertinent and encourage necessary dialogue and debate.
Rob has spoken about directorships requiring a holistic approach. NZSA believes his career has demonstrated exactly that, and as a consequence, he is a worthy winner of the 2017 Beacon Award.
The NZSA 2016 Beacon Award Winner is Mr Michael Daniell, until recently CEO and MD of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.
Michael obtained his BE (Hons) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Auckland University, where he is now a Council Member. Shortly after, he joined a tiny division of Fisher & Paykel Industries which was developing ventilation systems for hospital patients with serious respiratory issues.
In the first years, Michael jointly developed five patented technologies relating to humidifiers and control systems, one of these with Lewis Gradon who has recently succeeded him as MD at what is now Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.
In 1990 he was appointed General Manager of the Fisher & Paykel Medical division, and in 2001 became the CEO and MD of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare when the company was listed.
So, 37 years after starting with one room and five or six staff, Mike has built Fisher & Paykel Healthcare into a worldwide leader in the treatment of sleep apnea and non-invasive, humidified ventilation systems. Since listing, revenue has increased 450% and the company now boasts two state-of-the-art manufacturing plants in New Zealand and Mexico. It exports to 120+ countries and employs 3500 staff globally.
Among many other awards during his tenure, recent highlights include Fisher & Paykel Healthcare receiving both the Exporter of the Year 2015. Personally, Michael was recognised as the Deloitte Top 200 Executive of the Year in 2013, and received the INFINZ Leadership Award in 2015.
Michael’s exceptional corporate leadership and the huge contribution he has made to both New Zealand business innovation and the lives of so many people with respiratory problems worldwide, in our view, puts him in a league of his own and is the reason why we chose him as our 2016 Beacon Award winner.
On a personal level, Michael enjoys tramping and photography. This will be apparent in the cartoon that was presented to him which has been placed on the NZSA website.
The NZSA 2015 Beacon Award Winner is Tony Carter, Chairman Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Chairman Air New Zealand
There are recognised ways to climb the corporate ladder. A degree in accountancy or law is almost a pre-requisite. Qualifying as an engineer and buying a hardware store is not the usual way.
But people with special talents will always shine through, and Tony Carter has demonstrated consummate skills in everything he has turned his mind to. Not following the usual path has been no barrier for our 2015 Beacon Award winner.
Nothing illustrates Tony's particular skills better than his stellar career at Foodstuffs, where he ultimately became CEO of one of New Zealand's largest organisations. Running a large co-operative brings a set of challenges that few executives face and even fewer succeed at mastering. Tony's willingness to listen, and down to earth manner belie a razor sharp analytical mind and exceptional strategic acumen. The cooperative environment requires someone special, able to communicate and persuade a diverse group of owner operators to embrace a business culture that is responsive to not only their needs, but also the huge number of retail customers that they serve each day.
To leave to start a career in governance at a relatively young age also demonstrated courage and commitment . That the transition has been seamless is a testament to Tony's abilities.
Most impressively, he remains humble and unaffected, despite chairing two of the most successful and internationally competitive companies in New Zealand, plus sitting on several other high profile boards. In 2014 he was recognised by his peers when named Chairman of the Year at the Deloitte Top 200 Awards. Further proof of his ability to get the best out of his companies and their people is evident at this year's Deloitte Top 200 where he is associated with enterprises that are finalists in no fewer than five awards. No one else comes close.
Tony is decisive, and has repeatedly shown that once convinced of the merits of a particular action, he will become an enthusiastic early adopter.
His passion for running marathons illustrates a philosophy of preparation, and persistence that has served him and shareholders well. He is also prepared to tackle the really hard challenges as well. His non-voting chair role at the Auckland Blues is testament to that.
He deserves this award for more than just commercial excellence, which has been so rewarding for shareholders. It is also his unwavering determination to champion the highest standards of governance and ethical principles that puts him above many others.
Tony Carter is a most worthy winner of the 2015 NZSA Beacon Award.
The NZSA 2014 Beacon Award Winner is Joan Withers, Chairman Mighty River Power
It is said that a combination of ability, vision and perseverance will get someone to the top. In theory, anyone can become Prime Minister or President, but in practice it is rare for someone to come from the bottom rung to the top. In business, this is even less likely if you are a woman. Despite the so-called "glass ceiling" Joan Withers has proven that this is actually possible. She has indeed risen from a junior bank officer to become Chairman of some of the leading companies in New Zealand. She has also championed woman executives and directors, and worked enthusiastically for many years to foster talent, promote diversity in our boardrooms and better the standards of corporate governance. As a result, Joan is a most worthy winner of the New Zealand Shareholders Association Beacon Award for 2014.
Joan left school at 16, with no qualifications and few expectations. However, she had a disciplined work ethic and an innate sense of integrity and fairness. She worked initially as a bank teller and later raised a family. Deciding to do an MBA at Auckland University aged 36 was no easy decision, but proved to be life changing.
Joan moved into media and progressed to ultimately become CEO of the Radio Network and later CEO of Fairfax New Zealand. Past directorships have included The Warehouse, Tourism Holdings and Meridian Energy. She emerged from a short but ill-fated stint at Feltex with her reputation intact. She was a director for 16 years at Auckland Airport (Chair for the last four years).She is a director of ANZ (New Zealand) and sits on the board of the New Zealand Treasury. Currently Chair of Mighty River Power, she successfully guided the company from SOE to the first partially privatised listed energy company.
Joan has also freely contributed her talents to a range of other organisations, including as a trustee of the Sweet Louise Foundation (a support group for women and men with secondary breast cancer) and as a trustee of the philanthropic Tindall Foundation. She chairs a project creating employment for disadvantaged Maori and Pacific children and is a former trustee of Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Joan has been an outstanding role model for women in commerce. As a director of the 25 Percent Group and Global Women, Joan has actively worked to close the gender gap and ensure promotion is available to all, based on merit. She has also supported initiatives to increase Asian board participation. She was the first Chair to appoint a candidate from the Future Director programme, which will increase the pool of younger, skilled people ready for significant board roles. In 1998 she published a self help book, "A Girls Guide to Business".
Throughout her career, Joan has retained the highest standards of ethics and has worked diligently to improve corporate governance standards. She has also retained a down to earth and approachable personality. As a result, shareholders, the markets, the community and New Zealand have all benefited.
For her outstanding corporate leadership, respect for the rights of retail shareholders, work in promoting diversity and demonstrating by her own actions what is possible, Joan Withers is a worthy recipient of the NZSA Beacon Award for 2014.
The NZSA 2013 Beacon Award Winner is Sean Hughes, CEO Financial Markets Authority
No capital markets can function without effective regulators. Regulation of itself does not result in a return to shareholders. However, by establishing and enforcing a framework of ethical best practise, regulators do set the environment in which all capital markets participants can get a fair deal and concentrate on the commercial aspects of their enterprise or investment.
As first CEO of Financial Markets Authority from its inception in May 2011, Sean has led by example, worked ceaselessly and demonstrated all the skills that anyone could possibly hope for in such a position. As a result, he is a most worthy winner of the New Zealand Shareholders Association Beacon Award for 2013.
Prior to his FMA role, Sean's international career included over 20 years' corporate, legal and regulatory experience in Australia, Hong Kong and the UK. He has held senior executive roles in risk management and legal services at two of the major Australian banks, including Group General Manager, Group Compliance at ANZ, as well as senior executive governance roles at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), in both the capital markets and enforcement areas. Sean has also been a non-executive director in public sector occupational health and safety agencies, as well as education and leadership development entities. He holds degrees in history and law from the University of Canterbury and University of Cambridge. He also holds postgraduate qualifications in corporate governance and is a graduate from the Advanced Management Programme at the University of Melbourne Business School.
A stated role of FMA is to promote investment markets that are fair, efficient and transparent. To achieve this goal, Sean has demonstrated exceptional ability to communicate, listen and build around him a team that shares the same vision. It is a testament to his abilities that in only two years he has built a regulator that is seen as highly credible by all participants in the capital markets. Of note is Sean’s insistence that retail investors be included as one of those key participants in every sense of the word.
Being a regulator means not only setting the ground rules, but also enforcing them when required. It is an astonishing statistic that during his tenure as CEO, Financial Markets Authority has won every single prosecution it has brought. On the other hand, Sean has also insisted on the development of clear guidelines, open communication and a willingness to engage. This sets both himself and FMA apart from many other regulators, not only those involved in capital markets.
When Sean was initially selected in late 2010, he inherited absolutely nothing other than markets still reeling from the effects of the global financial crisis, and an investing community who were not only lacking confidence, but had lost faith in the ability of the regulators to maintain proper governance standards. Less than three years later, the landscape is remarkably different.
In our view, teamwork starts at the top. Sean’s guidance, outstanding work ethic and ability to bring out the very best in his team have been essential components in developing the widely respected culture and capability at Financial Markets Authority. As a result, shareholders, the markets, the community and New Zealand have all benefited.
The NZSA 2012 Beacon Award winner is John Parker Chairman of Port of Tauranga
Ports exist largely because of local geography. However, having good natural features does not automatically result in a return to shareholders. This requires leadership, teamwork, local support, financial management, quality service, and a strategic focus on large customers.
Port of Tauranga, Chairman, John Parker has demonstrated all of these skills and as a result is a worthy winner of the New Zealand Shareholders Association Beacon Award for 2012.
John graduated with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science, and joined the New Zealand Dairy Board eventually rising to Deputy CEO. During this time he attended and graduated from the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard. He has wide experience of business and infrastructure having farmed, and served as director of Dairy Meats NZ Limited, Toll Owens Limited, Livestock Improvement Corporation, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, Northport Ltd, and Farming Systems Uruguay. John joined the board of Port of Tauranga in 1996, and has been chairman since 2004.
Port of Tauranga's strategic focus has involved developing Metroport in the heart of the Manukau city industrial belt, expanding its log and chip handling facilities, increasing cranes and container handling capacity, encouraging KiwiRail to expand its capacity to 15 trains per day, developing new arrangements with shipping services for regular calls, developing container tracing and shuttle-choosing software for customers, and investing in joint venture with Northport and Northtugz. Port of Tauranga is rapidly becoming the northern sea transport hub of choice.
John and the board's vision produced another outstanding result in 2012 including growth in all major cargo categories, a record net profit, and exceptional total shareholder return. The Port's relationship with its cornerstone shareholder Bay of Plenty Council is at an all time high. The local community has benefitted from its support of the historic Elms Mission House restoration, sporting sponsorship, and Maori Tertiary Education scholarships.
2012 saw particular difficulties. The grounding of the Rena and subsequent demands for cleanup threatened services. Industrial action at Port of Auckland created unprecedented demand, and court appeals against the dredging programme were a frustration. Add to this the challenge of accommodating 83 summer cruise ships, and you have a board and management team at full stretch.
John chairs an unusual and cooperative management system. The board includes representatives from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, the 55% owner. However the council allows the Port to run its business in a fully commercial manner. This is a shining example of the Mixed Ownership Model. Unusually, John involves not only the CEO, but other senior managers in all board meetings. This results in alignment with the strategic vision of the board. When advised of the NZSA award, John immediately commented that "surely this is for the whole team".
In our view, teamwork starts at the top and John's guidance has been essential to developing the hugely successful culture at Ports of Tauranga. As a result, the company, shareholders, the community and New Zealand have all benefited.
The NZSA 2011 Beacon Award winner is Ryman Healthcare MD Simon Challies.
The directors of the New Zealand Shareholders' Association have pleasure this year in presenting the award to Mr Simon Challies.
When we think about Ryman Healthcare we are reminded of the quote by Charles Revson - famous promoter of Revlon - "In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope." Ryman provides accommodation and rest home care for the elderly, but in fact when coming to a Ryman Village, many find they have purchased a new outlook and a new lifestyle, in what is virtually a holiday resort. This vision for the business was provided by Kevin Hickman, but it is the detailed implementation that marks Ryman as a very special operation. Over the past eight years as General Manager and then Managing Director, Simon Challies has demonstrated outstanding leadership in realising the vision, and implementing the structure with such outstanding success for everyone involved.
Simon was brought up in Christchurch, where he was an outstanding school student, Dux of his school and (inevitably in Canterbury) a keen rugby player. He graduated LLB, and B Com (accounting) at University of Canterbury, and became a member of ICANZ, working for Spicers and Deloittes. Simon also developed his marketing skills in the Harvard Club of Australia, the Australasian extension of the famous Harvard case study approach to marketing. Outside of business, he has contributed to his community as treasurer and auditor of a number of sports clubs and charities.
When Simon first joined Ryman in 1999, it had a market cap of $135m and made profits of $6.2m. This year it made a net profit of $100m and the market capitalisation was almost 10 times greater than in 1999. Six times it has won the award for the best retirement village in the country. It now owns 22 villages, catering for five and a half thousand retirees, who are serviced by two thousand six hundred staff.
Unlike most companies, Ryman has grown organically, without requiring injections of new capital from its shareholders.This growth is complemented by its vertically integrated model including permanent design and development staff as well as continuing in- house maintenance programmes. Simon has led the development of staff skills, initiating programmes for the training of marketing and administrative personnel. Although the Ryman directorate is dominated by accountants, management expertise is across a broad spectrum of healthcare, recreational, and property services - and it shows.
Simon's next challenge is Australia. This market has several players larger than Ryman. Most promote their secure villages as resorts. However we believe that Ryman's ability to supply lifestyle cottages, apartments, serviced apartments, rest home and hospital care, can be successful in Australia. It will not be easy, but we believe Simon and the team he leads have demonstrated the skills and ability to succeed while still progressing the successful New Zealand operation.
Special Merit Award for the Hon Simon Power
The New Zealand Shareholders Association has never before made a Special Merit award. However this year we felt compelled to recognise The Honourable Simon Power's extraordinary leadership and determination to effect change in the way the financial markets are administered.
Such a complete overhaul of the way in which NZ supervises its capital markets including financial advisers, the establishment of the FMA, and the total revision of the Securities Act, has made this parliamentary term the most important and positive for investors in the past forty years.
Simon himself said that preparation is 90% of the battle in politics. This attitude allowed him to hit the ground running, handing over 5 or 6 drafted bills to his stunned Justice officials in their first meeting. More importantly, his willingness to consult widely, including listening to the voices of ordinary people, and then translating their bad experiences into legislative reform mark him out as a special Minister.
Simon was educated in Palmerston North and Victoria University securing a BA in Political Science and an LLB. While there he became President of the Victoria University Law Society. He worked in law in Palmerston North and Auckland before entering Parliament as member for Rangitikei at the age of 28. It would seem that "ordinary" provincial background and the enthusiasm of youth served him well.
Simon admits to being frustrated by the negativity of the traditional opposition role, and so by the time it was his turn to lead he was ready with the ideas and the drive to turn them into a reality. Later he said "Once you are in office, you've got to do something. That is why having a plan matters." For the Shareholders Association it was a refreshing change to have a politician who not only listened to the buy side of the market, but one who understood the need to involve all New Zealander's in building future wealth.
Simon has always been scrupulous in following best practise governance. In so doing he demonstrated that he was determined to make a real difference based on achieving a balanced view, with buy in from every side of the spectrum. His success in using this approach has demonstrated an approach that many other politicians could do well to emulate.
Simon also demonstrated a remarkable work ethic throughout his tenure. His staff were both invigorated and exhausted trying to keep pace with his lead. In particular, Simon has an astonishing ability to absorb, filter and arrange large volumes of information. This allows him to ask searching and appropriate questions in order to arrive at pragmatic and workable solutions for the most difficult problems. Even in the last 4 weeks before parliament rose Simon announced fourteen new or changed regulation and legislation, indicating that he retained his drive and energy to the last. The workload must have seemed daunting at times, but he has always retained an unflappable and professional persona.
As Minister of Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Justice, as well as Leader of the House, Associate Minister of Finance and the Law Commission, Simon has been right in the thick of New Zealand's legislative programme for the past 3 years. The New Zealand Shareholders Association salutes your unparalleled contribution to furthering the development of the New Zealand capital markets with this Special Merit award.
The NZSA 2010 Beacon Award winner is Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe
He was presented with this year's award on 18 November 2010 by NZSA Chairman John Hawkins. You can view the award certificate which is reproduced in full by clicking on this link (PDF).
THE GOLDEN GLOB AWARD
For the villains of New Zealand business, who have done such a poor job for small shareholders that it has earned them castigation by the NZSA.
Mark Hotchin and Eric Watson New Zealand Shareholder Association Golden Glob Joint Winners for 2010.
Regrettably and as usual the Association was spoilt for choice in selecting Golden Glob candidates. However, we had little trouble in selecting our winners as they stood out from the others by a country mile. In fact we hope they stay a country mile away forever, considering the level of misery they have inflicted on the unsuspecting, misinformed, often elderly people who entrusted them with hundreds of millions of dollars.
It gives us no pleasure at all to announce that Mark Hotchin and Eric Watson are our clear joint winners of the NZSA Golden Glob for 2010.
Watson came to fame years ago with a string of deals in Blue Star office products incorporating Ubix, Wang NZ, Whitcoulls, PC Direct, and Link Printing. After backing those assets in to an American office supplier, he moved into Noel Leeming and Bond and Bond with his Pacific Retail Group. The dismal failure of his UK Powerhouse empire had some questioning his credentials. Consequently, he tended to take a lower profile in Hanover due to the negative connotations around the medias so called "Watson effect". He met Mark Hotchin and found they shared a passion for fast cars and horses.
Hotchin had a quieter and more settled background. Starting as an apprentice in his father' joinery factory, he took on some small-scale property development and then broke through by picking up the Regency Court, St Heliers from receivers to net his first real money. Through the purchase of Corporate Cabs, and Matarangi Beach Estates, and some insider deals with his friend Eric, (he earned a rap over the knuckles from the Securities Commission when he sold some shares in PRG -Pacific Retail Group,) he became known as a canny businessman.
The real business partnership occurred when they acquired the old Elders Finance Company in 1999. In the best tradition of all clever salesmen, they quickly decided that a new name was needed and so "Hanover Finance "was born. Not for them the steady and cautious approach. There would be money to be made if they had a private bank, and with the benefit of hindsight it seems Hanover quickly became just that.
Make no mistake, these two are no fools. They soon harnessed the power of non-disclosure (as allowed by our loose regulatory regime), related party lending, unrealistic optimism in the face of clear economic signals, and of course, ultimately greed. Like some previous winners of this miserable award, they fully understood the power of brands and marketing. What better than a trusted ex newsreader to tell people where to invest? The vulnerable and gullible probably still thought they were tuned to TV One and happily ploughed their life savings into Mark and Eric's house of cards.
In 2007, the then CEO described Hanover's December results as "superb". An objective assessment of that half year result would have alerted anyone to the reality of the situation. The company was thus remiss in issuing this public description - to the cost of many thousands of New Zealanders. But Mark and Eric marched on. They sucked out nearly $87million from Hanover in the 2 years before receivership. But some was recycled back into the company to create the illusion that related party loans were being serviced and thus did not require write downs. Only later did it become clear that the $54million in "profits" that supported this rape of investor's assets was largely illusory as much of it consisted of capitalised interest. Mr Ponzi would have been proud of their efforts.
When receivership beckoned, Hotchin and Watson floated another over optimistic scheme for investors, and advisors Price Waterhouse Coopers-a moratorium. This also conveniently extracted themselves from the possibility of being caught by voidable transaction rules This plan was sold by another paid advocate, with soothing words from Mark that "you will get your money back," and the greatest line of all: "We are giving you assets, not liabilities." And they did give a few million back in order that they might retain the tens of millions which they had already extracted.
When that didn't work, they had another stroke of "genius". Flog it off to someone apparently more gullible by claiming it had massive net assets. Not for Mark and Eric a minor slip up in valuation. No, let's ask for 5 times what it's worth and let's get the hell out of here. A fine example of caveat emptor perhaps?
Hotchin also said he had had a "very good run" out of Hanover, and felt "a moral obligation to help". Really?
For its part, the New Zealand Shareholders Association would like to acknowledge the contribution of these two for their part in reducing the NZ secondary financing market to an empty desert, littered by the remains of so many investors that have been bled dry.
Eric and Mark, for you it can only be the 2010 Golden Glob - the lowest award available.
Signed: John Hawkins Chairman Alan Best Director.
Golden Glob Award recipients to date are:
- 2010 - Mark Hotchin and Eric Watson (Hanover Finance)
- 2009 - Rick Christie (Provenco)
- 2008 - Greg Muir (Hanover Finance)
- 2007 - ANZ Bank (the Feltex debacle)
- 2006 - No villain (what were we thinking of?)
- 2005 - Tim Saunders (Feltex)
- 2004 - George Gould (Gould Holdings)
- 2003 - Ron Brierley (Guinness Peat Group)
- 2002 - Phil Pryke (Contact Energy)