Successful capital markets are vital for a healthy New Zealand economy.
About $200 billion of new capital will be required in the next 10 years to lift New Zealand's export performance and the financial markets have a key role to play in mobilising pools of capital to finance that growth.
The importance of the capital markets is one of the reasons the Institute of Financial Professionals NZ (Infinz) hosts an annual industry awards dinner each year.
This year, a record number of more than 760 guests will gather at The Langham in Auckland on May 8 to reward and celebrate success in the industry, with APN NZ Media our media sponsor once again.
Thirteen awards and two fellowships will be announced on the night, following detailed discussions by our judging panel, which comprises of 31 senior professionals.
The annual Infinz awards dinner recognises how finance professionals have contributed to taking "NZ Inc" forward.
A key criterion this year is how those in the wholesale financial markets have added value to corporate clients.
For the first time, the Infinz awards will make a leadership award in recognition of sustainable and transformational leadership. This judging panel was led by Sir John Anderson and included highly-regarded company director Liz Coutts and Milford Asset Management Managing Director Anthony Quirk. The award has been sponsored by executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles.
Another new award, sponsored by the NZX, will recognise excellence in investor relations in mid-sized listed firms.
Other changes for 2013 include reframing of the former bank of the year award. Sponsored by The Business, it has been renamed the institutional banking innovation award, with the judging criteria including an assessment of the value added from the client's perspective.
Another existing award, for mergers and acquisitions, will be judged in terms of the success of the transaction concerned in achieving the strategic and financial goals established at the outset. The objective of this award, sponsored by Chapman Tripp, is to recognise and enhance the effectiveness of New Zealand corporates in transforming their businesses through M&A.
Capital markets do matter and, thankfully, awareness of their importance is growing.
KiwiSaver has been a positive for the markets with funds flowing into local companies and also because it educates and encourages investment by retail investors.
With the Government making pricing and allocation decisions with respect to Mighty River Power also on May 8, this year's Infinz awards is shaping up to be a very good night indeed.
Jim McElwain is executive director of the Institute of Finance Professionals New Zealand.