Financial Markets Authority

FMA still leaking like a sieve

It would appear that the Financial Markets Authority is still leaking like a sieve.

NBR reports:

The Financial Markets Authority’s handling of sensitive information has come under fire, albeit from a camouflaged position, with a senior professional figure saying it “leaks like a sieve.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the person says there were growing concerns about the confidentiality of some FMA work.

“My view is shared by many,” he says. “It’s a new organisation, it has the privilege of looking under the skirts at different firms, and with that comes a need for confidentiality.”

But, “there’s a general view mounting in the market that the FMA leaks like a sieve, and people aren’t happy about it.”

Citing several occasions when confidential information on FMA-related matters appeared to have spread beyond authorised people, “they wouldn’t have picked it up from us, you know they’ve picked it up from the regulator,” he says.

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Does anyone else think that Brian Gaynor banging on about transparency is a sick joke?

Brian Gaynor still has column in the NZ Herald, despite his company being under investigation for manipulating markets, and despite the Guardians of the Superfund pulling their warrant, for want of a better term.

The Herald seems to think his columns are just fine, and NZME. thinks his continued pushing of Kiwisaver ads on NewstalkZB is fine to.

Today’s column though is just taking the piss. He is banging on about transparency.

One of the major issues raised by the Ports of Auckland wharf expansion controversy is whether Auckland ratepayers have greater transparency and more influence over the company than they did when it was listed on the NZX.

Similar transparency and influence issues can be raised regarding Air New Zealand, Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy and Mighty River Power, all NZX listed and more than 50 per cent owned by the Crown.

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Milford – understanding the problem

So then, the NZ Super Fund dropped a nuclear bomb on the NZ financial markets late last week, by suspending Milford Asset Management from overseeing funds on behalf of the NZ public. This can only been seen as bad news for Milford as the FMA is due to report back on their enquiries soon. Clearly, the NZ Super Fund are expecting bad news for Milford.

We have also been forwarded a “panic stations” email from Milford to their clients, outlining how the allegations do not affect KiwiSaver funds. While this may be the case, there may yet be questions to answer on pumped up performance fees charged to Milford clients (which might also include their Kiwisaver clients), as the allegations over asset manipulation may have meant fund managers got extra money, paid for by their clients.

There are however, a number of things that need to be pointed out and deserve reinforcement.

Firstly Milford have claimed in a number of communications to the press that the investigations over asset manipulation relate to an “individual trader” at Milford, over “specific trades”.

This is misleading on Milford’s part. They do not employ anyone called a “trader”.  You can go see for yourself. Click through the various divisions of Milford to see all their staff members. No-one is called a trader. They do have a “dealer”, but this person only joined Milford in November of last year, well after the alleged manipulation took place.

What they are trying to mislead the public over is that the allegations may in fact apply to a Portfolio Manager, or perhaps a Private Wealth adviser. This changes the story materially. Portfolio managers or Private wealth advisers are big fish. They are the kinds of people who would give instructions on which shares, bonds and other financial products should belong in either an individual portfolio, or a large fund. They also stand to benefit from performance gains in portfolios with outperformance fees.   Read more »

Herald continues to keeps Milford columnist when NZ Super suspends them


Yet again, Brian Gaynor of the besieged financial firm Milford Asset Management has his weekly column published in the NZ Herald, despite the NZ Super Fund taking the unprecedented step of suspending Milford from running any investment mandates for them.

You will recall the FMA is investigating Milford Asset Management staff and transactions for alleged manipulation of share prices for their fund and personal gain.    Read more »

NZ Super Fund suspends Milford Asset Management

The NZ Super Fund has announced they have suspended Milford Asset Management:

The Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the manager of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, has suspended the Fund’s mandate with Milford Asset Management until a Financial Markets Authority (FMA) investigation into Milford is completed.

In the interim, the funds will be managed internally.   Read more »

Time to demand Milford Asset Manipulators to hand back their awards?

Brian Gaynor’s Milford Asset Management woes appear to be getting worse.

A probe into alleged illegal share trading at high profile fund manager Milford has increased in scope to embrace two major stockbroking firms, sources say.

It is understood that investigators from the Financial Markets Authority demanded further records from Milford Asset Management and the brokers about 10 days ago.

The records are said to include emails and text messages.

Milford, manager of about $3 billion on behalf of KiwiSaver investors, the Super Fund and other institutions, outed itself as the subject of an FMA probe on February 9 after a crescendo of speculation in the market.

“The investigation concerns an individual trader employed by the firm and certain specific trades,” it said.

The FMA has declined to comment on the investigation or its scope, but the stock exchange has confirmed it involves allegations of market manipulation.   Read more »

St. Brian Gaynor on the regulators, we couldn’t agree more


Sanctimonious hypocrite St. Brian Gaynor had this to say back in 2008.

The recent criticism of the Securities Commission, particularly in relation to the finance company collapses, is justified. The commission has disappointed investors in several areas as it has a tendency to promise too much and deliver too little.

The organisation’s primary purpose is “to strengthen investor confidence and foster capital investment in New Zealand by promoting the efficiency, the integrity and cost effective regulation of securities markets”.

It aims to achieve this through enforcement, recommending law changes, issuing rule exemptions, authorising and approving market participants, co-operating with international agencies and promoting public understanding of markets.

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Who is the alleged Dirty Trader at Milford Asset Manipulation?

On Saturday, we covered the Herald’s ongoing publication of Brian Gaynor’s column. This is despite his firm, Milford Asset Manipulation, coming under intense scrutiny due to a complaint to the FMA from the NZX (no less) over alleged stock price management.

Hang on, I might have that wrong. I meant Milford Asset Management under fire for alleged manipulation.

It beggars believe that Gaynor still gets to publish his column in the Weekend Herald, but I guess when you advertise heavily with NZME. (the Herald’s parent company), then the Herald gives you a get-out-of-jail free card when it comes to allegations of bad news.

Given that Milford have a mandate to buy and sell shares on behalf of the NZ taxpayer, as well as the savings of tens of thousands of private citizens in NZ, I think we deserve a little more sunlight on the goings ons at this company under fire for allegations of stock manipulation. Through a process of elimination we can shine a bit more light where Milford might prefer to keep us in the dark.

We know that Milford have six portfolio managers (which have been euphemistically described as “traders”), plus Brian Gaynor himself as Executive Director and Chairman of the Investment Committee, which technically makes him ultimately responsible for his team‘s behaviour.  Read more »

Herald rewards ‘Dirty Business’ traders with ongoing column

The Herald, despite railing against ‘Dirty Politics’ for several months of last year, appear to be perfectly comfortable with ‘Dirty Business’ by publishing the business column of Brian Gaynor in this morning’s Weekend Herald.

Gaynor is the director of Milford Asset Management, the company being under allegations of stock manipulation.

Milford, who are now reputedly in bunker mode as their business reputation is shredded from multiple directions, are currently being investigated by the FMA on request of the NZX, who appear to have picked up irregularities in certain trades in technology companies.

Yet the NZX instigated complaint is not enough to stop the Herald from publishing Gaynor’s utterances – a man who has lectured the Herald readership on business ethics with great gusto.

Remember – Dirty Politics allegations are enough to warrant a hounding from Herald journos, but Dirty Business allegations makes you one of the team.    Read more »

Will the Herald go after their own columnist like they go after Hotchin

Herald columnist Brian Gaynor was forced to apologise to Mark Hotchin for defaming him. The Herald buried their apology to Hotchin on page B12 and never put it online.

Gaynor also famously and rather breathtakingly said about Dirty Politics:

The integrity of our capital markets is very dependent on public issuers putting the interests of investors first and having regulators willing and able to take action when there are allegation that this important principle may have been breached.

In my experience being subject to defamation claims can leave you feeling intimidated and unable to write about a controversial subject.

Hopefully our regulators haven’t felt the same level of intimation and restriction when they have been attacked though blogs, social media or other communication forums.

Which is all rather ironic given his current predicament and his admitting to being a proven defamer of others under investigation by the FMA while raging a war against them in the vehicle he used, a New Zealand Herald column.

High-profile fund manager Milford Asset Management has confirmed it is being investigated by the Financial Markets Authority over alleged market manipulation.

“The investigation concerns an individual trader employed by the firm and certain specific trades,” the company said.

“Milford and the trader concerned are co-operating fully with the FMA.”

The company said the investigation does not have implications for client funds and has no impact on day-to-day operations at Milford.

“Milford looks forward to completion of the investigation,” the firm said.

Irony pours itself into the oversized wine glasses of Auckland’s financial community, as the rumours of market manipulation are confirmed as allegedly involving top firm Milford Asset Management.

Milford Asset Management is owned in part by (Saint) Brian Gaynor, whose weekly columns in the Saturday Herald have been a pillar of prudence and righteousness. Gaynor’s columns have railed forth against many in the NZ business community for the failings that he has perceived or alleged.   Read more »