Will the Herald go after their own columnist like they go after Hotchin

Herald columnist Brian Gaynor?was forced to apologise to Mark Hotchin for defaming him.?The Herald buried their apology to Hotchin on page B12 and never put it online.

Gaynor also famously and rather breathtakingly said about Dirty Politics:

The integrity of our capital markets is very dependent on public issuers putting the interests of investors first and having regulators willing and able to take action when there are allegation that this important principle may have been breached.

In my experience being subject to defamation claims can leave you feeling intimidated and unable to write about a controversial subject.

Hopefully our regulators haven’t felt the same level of intimation and restriction when they have been attacked though blogs, social media or other communication forums.

Which is all rather ironic given his current predicament and his admitting to being a proven defamer of others under investigation by the FMA while raging a war against them in the vehicle he used, a New Zealand Herald column.

High-profile fund manager Milford Asset Management has confirmed it is being investigated by the Financial Markets Authority over alleged market manipulation.

“The investigation concerns an individual trader employed by the firm and certain specific trades,” the company said.

“Milford and the trader concerned are co-operating fully with the FMA.”

The company said the investigation does not have implications for client funds and has no impact on day-to-day operations at Milford.

“Milford looks forward to completion of the investigation,” the firm said.

Irony pours itself into the oversized wine glasses of Auckland?s financial community, as the rumours of market manipulation are confirmed as allegedly involving top firm Milford Asset Management.

Milford Asset Management is owned in part by (Saint) Brian Gaynor, whose weekly columns in the Saturday Herald have been a pillar of prudence and righteousness. Gaynor?s columns have railed forth against many in the NZ business community for the failings that he has perceived or alleged. ?

But it seems all is not well with Milford. It would seem that an employee of Milford has been alleged to have engaged in chiropractic sharetrading – that is, market manipulation.

None other than the NZX itself have dobbed in Milford to the FMA, so it would seem that the allegations have some serious horsepower behind them.

There are many questions that need to be answered. Milford are one of the biggest fund managers in NZ. They?ve traded on their reputation as one of NZ?s best. Suggestions that there is a “rogue trader? to blame is highly disingenuous. Funds Managers in NZ normally don’t have a separate trading team, as they do in places like the USA or Britain. The portfolio manager has ongoing oversight of the fund and has full discretion to put through trades as and how they see fit. So if proven, the rot could go to the top.

So, here are some questions for the NZ business media to ask:

– How much of Milford?s performance can be attributed to this alleged market manipulation?

– How many NZ companies had their share prices affected by this alleged manipulation?

– How much of Milford’s funds under management (FUM ) were gained by virtue of alleged market manipulation? How many clients of Milford’s jumped from other providers because of this extraordinary performance from Milford?

– Did Milford advertise their superior performance to the public, on the back of any alleged manipulation of stocks that boosted their performance?

– How much in performance fees did Milford rake in thanks to alleged manipulation of stock prices in their portfolio?

– How much will Milford be refunding to their clients as a results of this alleged stock manipulation?

– How were other investors affected by Milford?s alleged manipulation? Did people lose money in trades with Milford because of their alleged actions?

– Why were Milford?s compliance people unable to pick up the alleged manipulations by their employee? Remember they have $3 billion of FUM – it?s not some under staffed tiny fund that doesn?t have the ability to track what its employees are up to.

– Or could it be that the alleged manipulation took place with sufficient buy-in from management – you know, “wink wink make the fund look good at the end of the quarter?? Only a full FMA investigation will confirm this to investors.

– If the allegations are proven, will someone lose their job? Will it be Mildred the tea lady, or “one of the five??

– Will the FMA move hard and fast to punish any alleged manipulations from one of NZ?s biggest fund managers? Or are they too big to be punished?

– Should Milford be allowed to profit from this alleged market manipulation to keep their FUM, performance fees and clients, or should they be made to give those clients to other fund managers and be fined enough to ensure they didn?t profit from any performance fee gains?

– If the alleged market manipulation is proved by the FMA, should Milford be allowed to continue as a Kiwisaver provider?

– How much in performance fees did Milford rake in thanks to alleged manipulation of stock prices in their portfolio?

– How much will Milford be refunding to their clients as a results of this alleged stock manipulation?

– Will?Bernard Hickey look into?Gaynor’s business affairs and tips after frequently just agreeing with everything he used to say and using him as a commentator on Interest.co.nz?

– Has?Liam Dann or anyone else at the Herald business section ?“ever traded or sourced stories” from the advice or tips of Brian Gaynor? And will he rush to declare this immediately now Gaynor’s company is under investigation by the FMA with a taint far larger than anything or anyone in the politically motived beats ups in Dirty Politics? ?Dann wrote an all too balanced piece for yesterday? now when Gaynor’s name is thrown into the mix makes it all the more suspicious for un-Herald like balance on others under investigation. Dann, if he is half a business?journalist would have known the rumours.

-?Is?Fran O’Sullivan now?going to use the unrestrained personal soapbox?given to her on Saturdays by the New Zealand Herald to write about Gaynor and the alleged behaviour of the company before the investigation is even over accusing him immediately of guilt? Will she declare any?dealings with Gaynor to source information around the business community like she and Dann rushed to do in Dirty Politics before an investigation is over?

– Is Brian Gaynor going to continue as a NZ Herald columnist?…One would hope not.

Tough questions. I hope someone asks them.


– NZ Herald