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Another new NZ share fund born

Impending changes to taxation rules are one of the reasons why Milford Asset Management is rolling out its own New Zealand share fund.

Wednesday, February 1st 2006, 12:43AM

by Philip Macalister

The fund, Milford Equities Research Fund, is being run by high-profile market commentator Brian Gaynor and Graeme Thomas.

Thomas previously worked at ANZ and a number of years ago managed money for Southpac which was then owned by The National Bank.

Thomas says Milford had established the fund to broaden its business base so the company didn’t rely too heavily on its individually managed accounts (IMA) business.

It recently (as reported in Good Returns) won a mandate to manage money for Arcus.

Thomas describes it as a “high conviction fund”. It won’t hold a huge number of stocks but will take reasonable stakes. He says it is likely to own between 12 and 15 listed companies.

On a technical basis it is very much a bottom-up stock-picking style which takes no notice of indices or competitors. In that sense it is more like an absolute return focused fund. Thomas says it can cash up, but he isn’t big on that.

“Managers are not paid to hold cash,” he says. I hate the stuff with a passion.” Gaynor will be primarily response for research and company visits while Thomas will do the stockbroker presentations and put the portfolio together.

It is likely that the fund will own mid-cap stocks, the sort of companies Thomas calls “tomorrow’s stars”.

He says the fund will be strong on corporate governance and will speak its mind on issues. There is a view that fund managers in the past have been reluctant to debate issues with companies. Rather they take the view that if they don’t like what’s going on, they will sell up and go elsewhere.

Thomas says they will be “batting away on behalf of unitholders.”

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