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.?

But some of those traders/portfolio managers can be?dismissed as?unlikely to be allegedly manipulating NZ tech stocks.

The portfolio manager who deals in currency and bonds is probably blameless. Ditto too the portfolio manager who deals in?overseas shares. So we can be a little more certain who might be dealing in NZ tech stocks on a regular basis.?The rumour mill suggests that some of the share trades examined include shares in companies like Tower Insurance,?Wynyard and Diligent.

(Ironic comment to the side – wouldn?t it be funny if Milford got caught manipulating Wynyard Group shares?listed on the NZX, by the NZX, using Wynyard Group anti-fraud software?)

The fact that Milford act for the NZ Super Fund now makes the allegations of stock manipulation a political matter – one which might be realistically raised in Parliament.

However, we know that the Greens, who obsess over?politically correct investing by the NZ Super Fund (like being anti oil and?anti-defence industry), are probably deaf and dumb when it comes to actual ethical investing behaviour by funds?managers.

But maybe Winston might like to ask some questions in the house this week about whether any NZ Super funds have been subject to alleged market manipulation, and?whether the NZ Super Fund has paid any performance fees or brokerage in stock?trades being investigated by the FMA. After all, superannuation has been a key policy plank of Winston?s, I?m sure he?d be keen to be seen to uphold the integrity of the?system by?asking questions on behalf of taxpayers.

Even better, Bill English himself might like to step up and unilaterally release this information to spare himself the?embarrassment over what might be revealed in time.