INFINZ Awards recognize excellence in New Zealand’s financial services ecosystem

The Institute of Finance Professionals in NZ Inc (INFINZ) welcomed nearly 800 guests to its highly anticipated and sold-out Annual Awards Dinner, held on Thursday 26 May 2022 at Shed 10 in Auckland.

It was a particularly notable occasion as INFINZ was also celebrating its 20th anniversary having been formed from the merger of the NZ Society of Investment Analysts (NZSIA) and the NZ Society of Corporate Treasurers (NZSCT) in May 2002. the 40th year since the very first award was presented – the Investor Relations Award by the NZSIA in 1982.

The primary objective of the INFINZ Awards is to raise standards by recognizing and rewarding innovation and excellence. A key criterion is how financial industry players have added value to their customers and the wider financial services ecosystem.

Fifteen awards were presented, with 38 experts acting as judges, as well as leading fund managers and equity analysts. The Awards program was refreshed in 2022, reflecting the growth of corporate finance practices, Kiwisaver sales and contemporary themes around ESG and digital transformation. The new awards included innovation, research reports and mid-market transactions. The inaugural Maori Leadership in Finance Award was also presented to Sir Robert McLeod.

Revamped awards include ESG, Diversified Fund Managers, Investor Relations, and Excellence in Institutional and Corporate Banking. Among the many winners were Contact Energy (for Investor Relations and Debt Market Issue of the Year) and Mercury NZ (for M&A and Treasury Excellence).

Several awards have been given to organizations and entities addressing the “E” or ESG environment, including New Zealand’s first certified Green Capital Bond/corporate hybrid issue (for best debt market issue awarded to Contact Energy) and Westpac (Excellence in Institutional and Corporate Banking awarded for leading and accelerating sustainable finance).

Several awards have addressed ESG’s “S” or social, including Innovation (awarded to Community Housing) and Whakatane Factory Funding (for Best Debt Deal) which helped maintain this open facility.

Two new Fellows were inducted – INFINZ Executive Director Jim McElwain and former INFINZ Board Member Sara Double. The seventh Distinguished Fellowship Award was presented to current INFINZ Fellow, Garth Ireland.

Milford Asset Management won the top diversified growth fund manager award, having won the former New Zealand equity fund manager award seven times in the previous 12 years. It was poignant as the previous Friday saw the funeral of Brian Gaynor who not only co-founded Milford but was also an INFINZ Fellow who helped establish the NZSIA and was one of its Presidents and Editor-in-Chief. At the awards dinner, INFINZ Chairman Mark Edwards noted that Brian had been a ‘titan’ of the New Zealand capital markets industry and conveyed his condolences to his family and colleagues. .

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