Obituary: Rob Cameron, kaumatua of capital markets

His contribution to the development of corporate finance and public policy thinking was unmatched.

The "kaumatua of capital markets" and one of the leaders of the economic reforms in the1980s and 1990s, Rob Cameron, has died in Wellington aged 67.

He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010 but continued to work during his treatment for his investment banking firm, Cameron Partners, which he founded in 1995.

He was unmatched in his contribution to the development of corporate finance and public policy thinking over the years. This began in the Department of Trade and Industry and in the Treasury during the early 1980s, leading up to the release of Economic Management, which was the manifesto for the Lange-Douglas government's reforms.

State-owned businesses were either transformed into corporate entities or sold to the private sector. After leaving the public service, Mr Cameron was head of investment banking at Fay, Richwhite, which was involved in some privatisations.

Under another Labour government, he was appointed chairman of the path-breaking Capital Markets Development Taskforce, which in 2009 recommended the establishment of the Financial Markets Authority.

This was followed by advising the Key government on "mixed ownership" model for partial privatisation of Air New Zealand and three formerly state-owned electricity generators.

In 2013, he received an honarary degree from Victoria University, followed by a CNZM (Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to business.

Mr Cameron was a director of Kiwi expatriate organisation KEA and active in Special Olympics New Zealand and the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute.

Innovative thinker
Cameron Partners’ Murdo Beattie has paid tribute to his business partner as an innovative thinker, “always ready to apply his talents to a wide range of business and public policy issues.”

The firm has increased to seven partners and is the New Zealand alliance partner of global investment bank Rothschild.

“Rob will be greatly missed by us here at Cameron Partners and many others in the business and wider community,” Mr Beattie says. "Rob has been a great friend and mentor to all who have worked with him.

“The same passion and vision [he] applied to his professional life, he also applied to his health. He was a true inspiration to all of those around him and the many people who sought out his advice.”

Mr Cameron was last reported in NBR as recently as December, commenting on Xero’s departure from the NZX and move to the ASX. He was involved in the listing of Xero in 2007.

Mr Cameron is survived by his wife Maureen, sons Mark and Daniel, daughter Emma and grandchildren. A funeral is expected to be held in Wellington later next week.

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