Bruce Sheppard leaves the Shareholders’ Association (NZSA) with confidence that the country’s capital markets are at least at the top of the political agenda.
Mr Sheppard told the association’s annual meeting that its efforts had amounted to “drips in a bucket” which had, over time, brought about real change.
“Over the past seven or eight years I have been rabbiting on about the importance of capital markets. I have been rabbiting on about the importance of saving and the importance of investing,” Sheppard said.
“Now just about every mainstream media and every commentator that I can observe is singing from the same song sheet,” he said. “Ten years ago they were not.”
He said the importance of capital markets was now well recognised. “Business is important. Leadership is important and savings are important. It’s the drips in the bucket that have changed all that.”
“This year we have actually managed to get capital markets at the top of the political agenda,” he said. “Politicians actually care about our capital markets, so we actually claim some credit for that too.”
Mr Sheppard said the association had been effective in dissuading companies from starting executive option schemes – which the NZSA sees as costly and value-diluting.
The NZSA also took credit for companies making fewer value-diluting share placements.
Sheppard said the NZSA had also changed the way directors felt about shareholders and changed the attitudes of boards.
What he called the “dirty tricks,” such as the voting by boards of American Depository Receipts had stopped as a result of NZSA lobbying.
Mr Sheppard is stepping down from his position at the NZSA to become part of Financial Markets Authority establishment board, which is headed up by former fund manager Simon Botherway.
John Hawkins will become the new face of the NZSA.
Commerce Minister Simon Power told the meeting his focus in the commerce portfolio was to restore “mum and dad” investor confidence in New Zealand’s capital marks after the global financial crisis and the collapse of several New Zealand finance companies.
The FMA establishment board has been up for running for two months and has recently begun advertising for a chief executive.
“Over the past 20 months it’s become clear to me that what was missing was a single regulator with a clear focus on visible, proactive, and timely environment to help protect investors and therefore our capital markets,” he said.
The FMA will consolidate all the functions currently spread across the Securities Commission, the Ministry of Economic Development, and the NZX.
Thu, 29 Jul 2010