Chapman Tripp has a market-leading financial services practice, having acted for all of the major domestic commercial banks, six of New Zealand’s major fund managers, four significant insurers, four major investment banks and brokers, major workplace savings schemes and New Zealand’s leading corporate trustees and licensed supervisors on regulatory matters. Its recent work includes the establishment of new funds such as Forthill Properties Limited, assisting several funds with compliance matters, and handling the merger of various funds. Penny Sheerin and Tim Williams in Auckland are the lead partners, with Wellington-based Mike Woodbury, Bradley Kidd and consultant Kara Daly also heavily involved in the practice. Auckland-based senior associate Emma Dale is also recommended.
Investment funds in New Zealand
AMP Wealth Management New Zealand Limited
Nikko Asset Management
Conrad Funds Management Limited
Craigs Investment Partners
Forthill Properties Limited
Bank of China
Colonial First State Investment Management
- Advising Calder Stewart, one of New Zealand’s leading construction companies, on the formation of a property investment fund to provide liquidity and capital from third-party investors.
- Advising Nikko, BNZ , Fisher Funds, BT and other various investment fund managers, on their New Zealand activities.
- Assisting with the New Zealand offerings of various fund managers, including Centuria Property Funds, Colonial First State, BetaShares Capital, Schroder Investment Management, Aberdeen Asset Management and Charter Hall Direct Property Management, with their New Zealand offerings.
DLA Piper New Zealand is 'possibly the easiest of the big firms to work with in terms of dealing with agreeable people, and it is among the most cost-effective'. With one of the largest investment funds and financial services practices in the country, the firm handles not only the formation and structuring of funds, but also provides advice on financial markets conduct, including insider trading, market manipulation and disclosure, as well as ongoing compliance advice and due diligence. Alasdair McBeth and Rachel Taylor in Wellington, along with Auckland-based Tracey Cross, are the lead partners. Special counsel Nicole MacFarlane in Auckland and Wellington-based senior associates Tom Barnes and Neisha Mistry also play pivotal roles in the practice.
‘The partners working in the investment funds practice at DLA Piper are genuinely joined up with each other. This is apparent when they talk on panels together and when they interact. This has a lot of benefits in terms of the feeling of being advised by a firm as opposed to feeling like you are being advised by an individual who works for a firm, it is helpful any instances where work needs to be passed between hands, and in any social situation they are an easy firm to deal with. They are also particularly strong at being able to call upon overseas practitioners, who are able to comment on issues that have arisen overseas but that are new to New Zealand.’
‘They are also very willing to spend time developing the relationship, swapping views and getting to know about the client business outside of billable hours.’
‘As a firm, they appear to be committed to doing right, as well as what is strictly legal.’
‘They have good standing with the regulator and supervisors.’
‘Nick Valentine has an excellent combination of pragmatism, charisma and weight to what he says.’
‘Senior associate Tom Barnes has deep academic knowledge of the legislation and is excellent for working through complex issues.’
‘Tracey Cross has forged a particular expertise in Conduct and Culture, which is particularly valuable in the current environment. She has also been very responsive and pragmatic in the work that she has done for us.’
‘Tom Barnes, Alasdair McBeth and team are responsive to our needs and work within any information we provide.’
‘They are always easy to speak to, responsive and nothing is ever an issue.’
Allianz Australia Insurance Limited
AMP Financial Services (NZ) Limited / AMP Capital Investors (New Zealand) Limited
Aon New Zealand
Bank of China
Britannia Financial Services Limited
BNP Paribas Securities Services
Booster Investment Management Limited
Board of Trustees of the National Provident Fund
Defence Force Superannuation Scheme
Devon Funds Management Limited
EBT Capital Limited
Epoch Partners AG
Evergreen Capital Partners Limited
Fidelity Life Assurance Company Limited
Financial Advice New Zealand Incorporated
Fisher Fund Management Limited
Foodstuffs North Island Limited
Forsyth Barr Funds Management Limited
Forte Funds Management Limited
Government Superannuation Fund Authority
Harbour Asset Management Limited
Hantec (NZ) Company Limited
Heartland Bank Limited
HSBC Holdings plc
Implemented Investment Solutions Limited
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
InvestNow Saving and Investment Service Limited
JMIS Limited/Clarity Funds Management Limited
Lifetime Asset Management Limited
Medical Assurance Society
Mercer NZ Limited
Milford Asset Management Limited
MMC Group Holdings Limited
New Zealand Fire Service Superannuation Scheme
Nikko Asset Management New Zealand Limited
Openly Investing Limited
Police Superannuation Scheme
Presbyterian Beneficiary Fund Trustee Limited
Presbyterian Church Property Trustees
PIMCO Australia Pty Limited
Ranfurly Strategic Limited
Russell Investment Management Limited
Simplicity NZ Limited
Steadfast New Zealand Limited
The Property Crowd
Trustees Executors Limited
Trustees of the Maritime KiwiSaver Scheme/Retirement Scheme
Trustees of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Staff Superannuation and Provident Fund
Trilogy Funds Management Limited
The Methodist Church of New Zealand Superannuation Fund
Westpac Banking Corporation
- Advised Kōura Wealth Limited on the design and development of a new, innovative KiwiSaver Scheme, Kōura Wealth Limited, one of only a few schemes being used in the market which uses a robo-advice tool to offer risk-based investment options based on a number of factors relating to members.
- Acting for Clarity Limited, Select Wealth, Medical Assurance Society, Marsh Limited, Allianz Australia Insurance Limited, AON New Zealand, Milford Asset Management, Fisher Funds, IOOF, HSBC, Steadfast New Zealand Limited, Steadfast Agencies, PSC Connect, BizCover Limited, Fidelity Life Assurance, Tower Insurance and i-Select, All impacted by the current reform of the Financial Advisers Act 2008, which requires all those providing regulated financial advice to be licensed under the FMCA.
- Advising Smartshares on its passport application. Smartshares is the first fund manager globally to submit an initial application to obtain a licence under the Asia Region Funds Passport initiative, which will allow it to offer its funds into other jurisdictions within the passport programme.
'Its key strengths are technical knowledge and expertise coupled with significant industry involvement and visibility', remarks a client of MinterEllisonRuddWatts. Acting as counsel to New Zealand's leading banks, as well as to several major funds, the firm is widely recognised as a market leader, and also stands out for its in-depth expertise in the regulation of cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). It also has an impressive client base in the wholesale, private equity and venture capital funds sectors. Auckland-based Lloyd Kavanagh and Jeremy Muir are the co-heads of the dedicated funds and financial services practice. Senior associates Alistair Robertson, who joined from ANZ Bank, and Maria Collett-Bevan are also central to the practice.
‘It is a dedicated team that focuses on investment funds work; this is a rarity in New Zealand. The team’s key strength and capability is technical knowledge and expertise coupled with significant industry involvement and visibility. This sets the firm apart from other peers in New Zealand.’
‘All individuals at MERW are very personable, approachable and make the effort to ensure a good standard of service is provided. They stand out as genuine people, not just genuine lawyers. We also value their proactivity in alerting us to topical items of interest from time to time, and supporting our Continuing Legal Development requirements.’
Generate Investment Management Limited
Trustees Executors Limited
Bank of New Zealand (BNZ)
Jasper Property Limited
ASB Bank Limited
Westpac New Zealand Limited
New Zealand Treasury
Financial Services Council of New Zealand
Track Back Limited
- Assisted Generate with establishing its first non-KiwiSaver managed fund, the Focused Growth Trust.
- Advised TEL in relation to a high-profile series of changes to its management and fee arrangements in 2019. The firm is also advising TEL on the restructure of the Trust which involves separating its New Zealand and Australian real estate investments into separate holding vehicles across two jurisdictions (New Zealand and Australia), and subsequently stapling the units in those vehicles to form a stapled group.
- Assisted BNZ in relation to its strategic project entitled ‘Reshaping Customer Advice’. The objective of the project was to reshape both BNZ’s structures and processes to reflect the new financial advice regime which came into force on 29 June 2020 (under the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act legislation).
'The firm has the depth of resource to ensure it performs on time, all the time', says a client of Bell Gully. The firm advises numerous managed funds and supervisory organisations. It also has a firm focus on regulatory developments and compliance issues, advising many clients on change to the financial advisory and investment management regimes, including remediation, risk analysis, licensing and compliance activity. The 'accessible, efficient and highly effective' Haydn Wong in Auckland leads the group, in which Wellington-based partner Amon Nunns plays a prominent role. Senior associate Katie Dow in Auckland is also recommended for her 'impressive expertise'.
‘Haydn Wong and Katie Dow have both the technical knowledge and commercial judgment to best advise our business.’
‘Haydn Wong is very accessible, efficient and highly effective. Katie Dow has impressive expertise and understands our business.’
‘The firm has a full-service legal practice and a very experienced and outstanding team of people providing legally impeccable and value-driven results.’
‘Amon Nunns ensures the team performs to his – and the client’s – expectations. The firm has the depth of resource to ensure it performs on time, all the time.’
Craigs Investment Partners
The New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Limited
Asteron / Suncorp
Covenant Trustee Services Limited
First State Investments
Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation
Stride Property Limited
Synlait Milk Limited
- Advising Guardian Trust on a range of activities in relation to its role as supervisor of managed investment schemes.
- Advising Craigs Investment Partners on its five managed investment schemes.
- Advised Mercury Capital on the establishment of Mercury Capital Fund 3 to raise AU$600m.
Dentons Kensington Swan 'provides excellent technical legal advice, while being commercially pragmatic'. The firm has a strong domestic and trans-Tasman client base, which includes large and boutique funds. It has also been closely involved in Financial Markets Conduct Act reforms, notably the proposed Financial Markets Services Legislation Amendment, and it frequently assists clients with innovative projects in the emerging fintech market. A significant proportion of the firm's work stems from Australia and other offshore markets. The team has highly respected specialists in David Ireland and Catriona Grover in Wellington, who are the lead partners in the practice. Senior associate Tom McLaughlin is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘This team provide excellent technical legal advice, while being commercially pragmatic. The people in the team are very easy to work with.’
‘They are extremely easy to deal with with clear communication even when advising on complex matters. They add value with their advice, often picking up angles we hadn’t considered, and are always across what’s going on in the industry and how the ever changing regulatory environment may impact our business. The technical expertise is top-notch.’
‘Overall, the team has real depth and when key people are not available which can be irritating at other places there seems to be always someone able to fill in. Well trained, the new lawyers are always very well versed In what’s required by the time we met them. There is always someone to help.’
‘Cat Grover is the primary partner on most of our work. She is truly a star, always across what‘a happening In the industry and how it impacts what we are doing. She provides useful and timely insights around the changing regulatory environment. At the forefront of FinTech changes and the line we can walk to be compliant yet maintain a culture of innovation. We have recently briefed her about the beginning stages of a number of high-profile projects and her assistance already has been invaluable, helping the team navigate through an area that they were not familiar with.’
‘David Ireland is an expert on adviser regulations and the ongoing changes in that area. Always great when we need him and full of useful insights.’
Tom McLaughlin is the best non-partner lawyer I’ve ever worked with – more impressive than a fair share of partners also!. He is smart, business-aware, across all aspects of the industry and has outstanding technical knowledge. People from all levels in our business love working with Tom, he makes law seem easy – which is quite the achievement.’
‘The firm has strength and depth with extensive specialist knowledge coverage across the business.’
‘Friendly, approachable and professional.’
Kiwi Wealth Limited
ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited
AMP Wealth Management New Zealand Limited
Michael Hill International Limited
UniSaver New Zealand
Funds Administration New Zealand Limited (FANZ)
Equity Trustees Limited
Civic Financial Services Limited (‘Civic’) / Local Government Superannuation Trustee Limited (‘LGST’)
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (‘ Ngāi Tahu ’)/ Whai Rawa Fund Limited (‘WRFL’)
New Zealand Guardian Trust Company
Consilium NZ (‘CNZ’)
Morningstar Australasia Pty Ltd
Kepa Financial Services Ltd
Kernel Wealth Limited
- Advised Kernel Wealth Limited in a matter that involved the licensing of a new fund manager and the establishment of a fully digitalised investment platform with three initial index tracking retail funds.
- Advised in the introduction of unit pricing to the UniSaver scheme. It involved extensive and complex trust deed changes to amend the scheme’s structure relating to accounts, investment returns and processes to reflect the unit pricing processes.
- Helped Consilium obtain its fund manager licence, develop the scheme documentation for a new open architecture self-select KiwiSaver scheme, and manage the regulatory complexities presented by such a unique proposition.
Russell McVeagh has a reputation for 'sound commercial nous, top legal performers and quality advice'. The firm works with fund managers, trustees, supervisors, financial advisers, custodians, investors and employers to navigate the red tape, and have close relationships with the regulators to navigate the regulatory and legislative framework governing the market. It helps to establish and structure new funds, handles due diligence and compliance processes, and assists retail and listed funds - domestic and offshore - on their activities. Practice head Dan Jones in Auckland is only partner and he frequently advises fund managers, banks and trustees on their regulatory obligations. In 2020, special counsel Sarah McQueen joined from Bell Gully, bringing a specialist focus on managed funds and superannuation law.
Other key lawyers:
‘This is a smaller team compared with peers in the industry. They are, however, growing and emerging as a well-known player in that industry. They are recruiting additional personnel to ensure that quality of that practice continues. The firm is one of the top firms in NZ and its strengths and key capabilities include sound commercial nous, top legal performers, and good reputation for quality advice.’
‘The individuals we work with are all great personalities who are fantastic to work with. Their commercial judgement sets them apart from competitors.’
Guardians of NZ Superannuation
Mint Asset Management
NZ Funds Management
Oyster Management Limited
Pathfinder Asset Management Ltd
Public Sector Pension Investment Board
Westpac Bank New Zealand
- Handled the acquisition by PSP Investments (one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers) of 24.9% of New Zealand’s largest dairy farming company. Careful analysis was needed to ensure compliance with the Overseas Investment Act 2005, while still providing sufficient governance control for a purchaser investing a nine figure sum in an existing business.
- Advised the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation on the process and drafting of the new legislation enacted to establish the $300m venture capital fund (being the Venture Capital Fund Act 2019) as well as the establishment of the investment fund itself, including the investment management arrangements entered into between the Guardians and New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, being the initial investment manager for the venture capital fund.
- Advising Oyster Management Limited on the establishment and offering of a number of property funds with a number of different structures and features.
The financial services practice at Anthony Harper has focused on the investment funds sector since recruiting practice head Nick Summerfield in 2018, and it has seen its client base grow through its specialist expertise. It acts for leading banks, insurers, fund managers, licensed supervisors and property syndicators. It has become one of the leading advisers to property-related investment funds and mortgage funds. Advising supervisors of investment fund offerings is a key part of the practice's work. Gill Goodwin left to take up a role as deputy chairperson to the NZ Human Rights Review Tribunal.
AIA New Zealand
Westpac New Zealand Limited
Silverfin Capital Limited
New Zealand Funds Management Limited
First Credit Union Incorporated
The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd
Mainland Capital Limited
Covenant Trustee Services Limited
Sargon (NZ) Limited
First Mortgage Managers Limited
Fund Managers Central Limited
Police and Families Credit Union
New Zealand Employees’ Credit Union
Steelsands Credit Union
- Advising Silverfin Capital on a retail offer in an NZ$86m investment fund that owns and manages a portfolio of agricultural sites across New Zealand.
- Advising 5 out of 9 credit unions (First Credit Union Incorporated; Credit Union Auckland Incorporated; Steelsands Credit Union Incorporated; Fisher & Paykel Credit Union Incorporated; New Zealand Employees Credit Union Incorporated) on an incorporation project, a complex transaction that required protracted engagement with the regulators. The value to the credit unions was measured at NZ$450m.
- Acting for First Credit Union Incorporated and Police and Families Credit Union on a takeover of an NZX-listed financial services technology company, including regulatory matters relating to their licensed status.
The team at Lane Neave is 'practical, knowledgeable, efficient, responsive and technically competent'. The firm joins the ranking due to its growing workload and expertise in structuring and establishing managed investment schemes. Its investments and financial services practice also has close ties with prudential supervisors and trustees such as New Zealand Public Trust, as well as market regulators. Claire Evans in Christchurch is head of the practice and co-head of the corporate group. Senior associate Matthew Tolan is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is practical, knowledgeable, efficient, responsive and technically competent, with some outstanding partners in specialised areas.’
Williams Corporation Capital Limited
MIE Pay Limited
New Zealand Public Trust
Credit Union Baywide (trading as NZCU Baywide)
Bridgewest Group LLC
Bathurst Resources Limited and BT Mining Limited
Pegasus Health (Charitable) Limited
- Advised Public Trust and New Zealand Permanent Trustees Limited, a statutory supervisor and a security trustee, in relation to an oversubscribed $100m issue of unsecured fixed rate bonds.
- Acted for Williams Corporation Capital Limited, a high profile New Zealand property developer, in establishing a wholesale finance company through a $21.4m offer of redeemable preference shares.
- Acted for MIE Pay Limited, an Australian fintech provider of payment and commerce solutions, in relation to an AUD4.3m initial public offering under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Scheme.