Monday Message 23rd May 2022

“Nobody can do well unless they have fierce competitors, and I think he fitted that bill perfectly for many of us across the industry”

– a NZ funds management business competitor commenting last Tuesday on the surprising news that the investment and commentating titan across all the decades since the heady 1980’s, Bryan Gaynor, had passed on, aged 73.

Gaynor was one of the founders of Milford Asset management in 2003. This company today has 170 staff and 80,000 clients across New Zealand and Australia. He was good to me.

Monday Message 9th May 2022

The topic of stock exchange listed company DGL CEO and 57% owner Simon Henry’s thoughtless comments about Nadia Lim has been shockingly fascinating in the last few days. Will Henry behave this week like Putin and dig himself a deeper hole; or will he show humanity?

What has not been well discussed is the clearly weak governance of DGL; a company that raised AUD100M of public money only a year ago and today employs over 300 people (including females smiling in the DGL Prospectus on page 43 and elsewhere). Amongst various offerings, DGL produces a prominent and important product in the form of ‘Adblue’ brand diesel exhaust fluid (you may have some in your car or truck).

There is no perfect CEO or MD – a fact well known by most. Therefore it often falls to the Chair as leader of the Board to address issues and attempt to do the right thing when the CE stumbles. The Chair has the opportunity to show visible leadership to staff, customers, suppliers, shareholders and other stakeholders thereby reminding everyone what the Board does and does not stand for. In this case the silence from the Chair Peter Low (a career accountant) has been deafening. He should quit.

It would be impressive if he was succeeded in the seat by the only female on the Board, Denise Brotherton. However as a career tax accountant it is unlikely she would be any better. It is no wonder that the “ordinary people” spoken of so often by politicians do not trust business leaders.

Monday Message 17th January 2022

“Some races increase, others diminish, and in a short space the generations of living creatures are changed and like runners hand on the torch of life”
– the Roman poet known as Lucretius (full name Titus Lucretius Carus; who lived c. 99 – c. 55 BCE)