Milford Asset Management

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 »

Power 20% cheaper than OECD average, but Labour in denial

William Curtayne from Milford Asset Management was on ZB last night with Larry Williams.

He calmly skewers the Green/Labour terrorists for their claims about power prices in NZ.

William Curtayne on power prices (1) "William Curtayne on power prices (1)"

Meanwhile Grant Robertson has come out saying John Key is living in la-la land for saying exactly the same thing:

John Key’s claim this morning that Kiwis aren’t paying too much for their power shows just how out of touch he is, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Grant Robertson.

“John Key should tell that to the Kiwis who dread opening their power bill every month, who think twice about turning the heater on and worry that it’s too expensive to have the electric blanket going this early in the year.  Read more »

NBR rips into ComCom extremity

by Winslow Taggart

We’ve blogged a bit about the “mad dog” issues at the Commerce Commission. Today it’s the NBR’s turn to highlight the extreme decisions of the ComCom, with commentary from the financial sector confirming the issues highlighted on this blog around a month ago.

In a submission to telecommunications commissioner Ross Patterson, Mr Bascand says the commission’s approach puts the success of the government’s ultra-fast broadband initiative at risk.

And could be a turn-off for foreign investors considering buying shares in partially privatised state-owned energy companies.

His comments follow what he describes as last month’s “policy shock” of draft regulations for the unbundled copper local loop – the traditional mainstay infrastructure of the national telephone system, which fibre-optic cable will replace as ultra-fast broadband rolls out nationwide.

The government’s $1.5 billion subsidy plan is intended to accelerate uptake of UFB, but the Commerce Commission’s approach suggests it “has a mandate to tilt the playing field back to copper” while using a flawed benchmarking approach to regulation, Mr Bascand said.

Don’t mention Sky TV, who received supposedly happy news from the ComCom only to have it all turn to dust when the Mad Dogs tacked on a paragraph about investigating Sky TV’s broadband relationships.

It also seems that Harbour Asset Management aren’t the only ones. In addition to Milford Asset Management, First NZ and  Forsyth Barr, Global firm Goldman Sachs also points out how government is about to get shafted by the ComCom.

However, last month’s draft decision had led Goldman Sachs to cut its forecast of UFB uptake by 10%, suggesting outcomes that “run entirely counter to government policy”, tilting the playing field in favour of copper and forcing Chorus to accept uneconomic returns on its copper network.

However the issue was handled, the government should be aware international investors now look askance at New Zealand regulators, making them wary of investing in partially privatised assets where regulatory risk remains high, such as the electricity sector.

The question this blog asks is this – who needs Labour and the Greens running interference on an asset sales programme when the Commerce Commission can do it just as easily for them?