We've got good reason to believe in our potential - Milford Asset

We’ve got good reason to believe in our potential

Mark Ryland

Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director

Mark was appointed as Chief Executive Officer in February 2019.

He initially joined Milford May 2014 as Head of Risk & Compliance.  He was appointed Head of Product & Operations in February 2017, with responsibility for building a centre of excellence in operational processes to serve Milford Clients and for the design, development and maintenance of investment product and solutions that helps clients meet their financial goals and life stage aspirations and responsible for the development and maintenance of digital platforms that deliver such products and meet client service needs.

Prior to joining Milford, Mark worked as Managing Director at Brook Asset Management, Chief Operating Officer at Macquarie Private Wealth, and at ASB Group Investments where roles included Acting Head of Wealth, Head of Aegis, and GM Finance and Risk Strategy. Prior to arriving in New Zealand, Mark worked as Assistant Director of Operations at Threadneedle Asset Management in the UK.

Mark is a UK Qualified Accountant and a Fellow of Chartered Certified Accountants (F.C.C.A).

Putting public health considerations front and centre in its response to Covid-19 was the right thing for our government to do. New Zealand is now in a position envied by people around the world, including my relatives in the UK.

Things often held against us – our size, our remoteness, our single layer of government – have this time worked in our favour.

But the real key to our success in minimising the spread of Covid-19 has been mutual co-operation: we have been able to rely on each other. We now need to harness that same spirit to drive our economic recovery.

New Zealand is a trading nation, but the domestic economy still makes up about half of our country’s total economic activity. Even tourism last year generated some fifty percent more revenue from locals on tour than it did from overseas visitors. As we come out of lockdown, the business we do with each other here at home will play an important part in kickstarting our economy.

Financial markets can and should provide essential support for that activity. Initiatives such as the government’s Business Finance Guarantee Scheme and the deferment of new capital adequacy requirements for banks don’t mean risk levels and asset values are no longer important factors. Rather, they allow people to get on with business: to pursue long-term value without being distracted by short-term volatility.

Some strong and successful companies are presently in need of capital. On 18 February, Kathmandu shares were trading at $2.51. One month later, they were trading at $1.04. A realistic reflection of an expected change in future earnings? Or a knee-jerk reaction? Its recent capital raising was certainly well-supported across its shareholder base.

Ensuring the long-term future of a company like Kathmandu benefits not just its shareholders, but also the people who work in its shops, the contractors who clean those shops, the graphic designers who create their advertisements – and New Zealand’s hunters, trampers, and duck shooters (when the season eventually starts …).

Allowing financial markets to operate efficiently not only provides businesses one of the inputs critical to their continuing survival, it also provides investors (and with KiwiSaver, that’s most of us) with an opportunity to put their capital to work.

It’s not all about big business, however. We are really a nation of small businesses. Companies like Milford can help these smaller businesses and individuals achieve financial security; banks, with the government’s support, can and are taking a greater share of risk in the short-term to create long-term value for all stakeholders.

How else can the financial sector help? Financial markets can link the pool of savings with the capital-hungry infrastructure projects we need to build in order to meet our current and future social and environmental challenges. The long life of these assets matches the long-term horizon of KiwiSaver funds; the idea of New Zealanders providing the funding for those developments and being repaid over time by the value those assets create is an appealing one.

Ultimately, it’s about people. Financial markets are simply a way for people to do what people have always done: trade with each other. To buy, sell, build, invest: to cooperate and collaborate in order to achieve more than any of us could as individuals.

Those are the activities that built our economies and societies; those are the activities that will rebuild our economies and societies once again.

It won’t all be smooth sailing. Macro terms like ‘volatility’ can mask significant turmoil for individuals. My own family includes people working in retail and in the building industry: they are not yet quite sure when they will be back at work, or what work might look like. But it also includes a Year Two student who, last time I called, was doing schoolwork online (or that’s what she told her grandfather…), and a number of more senior citizens who are enthusiastically embracing “portals” and “apps”.

Let’s believe in our potential: we’ve got good reason to.

Disclaimer: The material contained herein is based on information believed to be accurate and reliable although no guarantee can be given that this is the case. This is intended to provide general information only. It does not take into account your investment needs or personal circumstances. It is not intended to be viewed as investment or financial advice. Before making any financial decisions, you may wish to seek independent financial advice.