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New Zealand

Betashares hires ex Smartshares chief to lead NZ push Investment News

Hugh Stevens: Betashares NZ executive director

Former Smartshares chief, Hugh Stevens, has returned to the index fund frontline as executive director for Betashares in NZ.

Stevens has been charged with increasing the presence of the Australia-based exchange-traded fund (ETF) specialist in NZ across all market segments as well as helping with strategic growth plans.

“I’ll be working alongside the Betashares leaders to grow the NZ business,” he said. “There’s definitely space in NZ for more competition among index managers. Betashares has a big product engine and there’s a lot of opportunity to improve the outcomes for NZ investors.”

Stevens is the second ex Smartshares recruit for the Australian ETF manager, which made its first NZ hire in 2021 with the appointment of Thom Bentley as NZ head of institutional and adviser relationships.

Bentley, who previously performed a similar role at the NZX-owned firm, left last August just before Betashares secured a managed investment scheme licence in NZ in readiness to launch a range of portfolio investment entity (PIE) funds.

The manager already boasted a significant NZ client base with direct exposure to the more than 80 Betashares ASX-listed ETFs.

Betashares rolled out five PIEs in May this year that feed into underlying ETFs across several asset classes including global shares as well as Australian equities and fixed income.

As the end of the end of September the PIEs had accrued about $9 million in total.

Alex Vynokur, Betashares founder, said the manager had long eyed NZ as an important market.

Vynokur said Stevens had extensive knowledge and understanding of the NZ market that would contribute to the firm’s long-term efforts to establish a strong base this side of the Tasman.

He said Betashares would likely recruit further in the NZ market while exploring all growth opportunities.

“Generally we rely on organic growth,” Vynokur said. “… But at the same time we are open to make acquisitions if they are aligned with our long-term objectives.”

Betashares has branched out recently, buying the Bendigo Bank superannuation scheme in October and launching a direct-to-consumer ETF platform in the same month.

Founded in 2010, the ETF disruptor has grown to more than A$30 billion under management across more than 80 products.

The business is part-owned by US private equity firm, TA Associates, which also has stakes in Fisher Funds, Russell Investments and Apex Global.

Stevens resigned from the NZX-owned Smartshares in January this year, officially winding up his five-year shift in March. He subsequently took up some governance roles including with the Government Superannuation Fund and Apex subsidiary, FundRock NZ.

https://investmentnews.co.nz/investment-news/betashares-hires-ex-smartshares-chief-to-lead-nz-push/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=betashares-hires-ex-smartshares-chief-to-lead-nz-push Betashares hires ex Smartshares chief to lead NZ push Investment News

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