Virtual reality or The Beehive?
By Bruce McLachlan, Chief Executive
08 August, 2017
Following the unbelievable events at the White House over recent weeks, we could all be excused for thinking that economic and social progress in the US is being constrained by national politics. However, in this day and age, politicians and governments are having significantly less impact on human progress than technology changes such as the advent of virtual reality, artificial intelligence and robotics. For example, in the recent earnings season in the US, Bloomberg reports Amazon was mentioned five times more frequently by business leaders than Trump. Amazon represents a far greater threat or opportunity for businesses and citizens than Donald Trump, despite all of the crazy goings on in Washington.
It's worthwhile remembering this as New Zealand heads into another election cycle. I was brought up to believe the democratic process is very important — and it is, however, the biggest impact on our lives over the next two electoral terms is more likely to come from technological progress than from political party policies. Yes, we get excited with leadership changes, poll results, coalition nuances and even those dreadful roadside billboards, but how much does this all really matter? Consumers vote on the kind of society they want by how they spend their earnings every day, not once every three years. Investors do the same. So while we will all take real interest in the election on 23 September and the weeks immediately afterwards, astute investors will be watching the megatrends of our time, and how that will impact their spending power over the longer term. Personally, I will be watching who wins the race for artificial intelligence, not The Beehive.
Best of both worlds
By now you should all be aware that on 3 August the commercial arm of the TSB Community Trust committed to acquiring the remaining 51% of Fisher Funds they do not already own, taking them to 100%. The Trust then intends to sell down about 25% to TA Associates, a global growth private equity firm based in the United States. TA specialises, amongst other things, in investment in funds management businesses around the world.
This is a great outcome for the long term future of Fisher Funds. We have retained ownership, control and operations within New Zealand while gaining access to international expertise and best practice. Ultimately, this provides a strong platform to deliver even better solutions and services to our clients, while retaining our core New Zealand values that the business was built on.
That has to be the definition of the best of both worlds and may well become the model for other noted New Zealand businesses.
Other than the shareholding change, it is business as usual here at Fisher Funds. Carmel is staying on as a Director, our teams are staying intact to focus on generating great investment returns coupled with excellent client service, and there are no planned changes to the products and services our clients receive.
I am confident and optimistic about the future of Fisher Funds, and that our shareholders will continue to support the long run success of both our clients and the business.