The NZX was among those honouring fund manager and financial commentator Brian Gaynor today, acknowledging his "immense contribution to capital markets over nearly five decades".
Gaynor, 73, passed away today after a brief illness.
"As one of the country's leading investment analysts, Brian was a titan of New Zealand's capital markets," said NZX chair James Miller.
"Brian would be one of most influential people in the 150-year history of New Zealand's capital markets and the NZX."
"He had an amazing career from equity analyst to entrepreneurial fund manager, while also being a leading business commentator."
NZX chief executive Mark Peterson extended his sympathies to the Gaynor family.
"One of his great strengths was his willingness to foster debate by openly and courageously sharing his views. He had incredible market knowledge, history and insights," Peterson said.
Speaking at the post-Cabinet press conference Deputy PM Grant Robertson said Gaynor contributed greatly to society and the business community.
"He's a person I met on a number on occasions ... He's going to be sorely missed."
Gaynor was one of the founders of Milford Asset management in 2003.
"The values, commitment and skill he applied to the firm and our people were instrumental in creating the organisation we have today," the company said in a statement.
"His dedication and determination to providing New Zealanders with good financial education and information, investment funds and advice has endured," they said.
It would be part of his legacy for the company's 170 staff and 80,000 clients across New Zealand and Australia.
"Brian was a driving force of both our organisation and our industry, and we will remember him as a leader, a mentor and a friend."
Gaynor was twice awarded NZ Shareholders Association's Beacon award for services to the investment community.
"His insight and his mana will be missed by the investment community," said NZSA chief executive Oliver Mander.
Gaynor was a member of the NZSA but his relationship with the organisation went far beyond membership, Mander said.
"Culturally he was aligned to the values we have and he was a strong supporter. We'll miss him terribly."
Shane Solly, portfolio manager at Harbour Asset Management, said Gaynor was a well-respected market commentator who was always willing to take on challenging situations.
"He was forthright in nature and a powerful voice in the market.
Solly recalled a "baptism of fire" when Gaynor came in to speak to him and a group of other budding fund managers
"He came in and told us how it was as juniors," Solly said.
"His ability to challenge in a constructive way was a great lead for others to ask the hard questions, but also to do so in a way that works."
Financial columnist Mary Holm recalled Gaynor's value as a source for journalists going back to the 1980s.
"It seems he always knew what was really going on in the investment world," she said.
Gaynor and Holm had a long-running debate in their respective Herald columns over the relative merit of "active versus passive" investment funds.
"While I never convinced him that passive was best, and he never convinced me the other way, I always respected him and his arguments."
Craigs Investment Partners head of research Mark Lister described Gaynor as "quite simply a legend of the New Zealand capital markets".
"Nobody can do well unless they have fierce competitors, and I think he fitted that bill perfectly for many of us across the industry," he said.
"It was always astounding how many war stories he had from the 1980s, which he always seemed to recall the details of with absolute clarity!"
Lister said he'd never forget going head-to-head against him in a debate at a conference when he was relatively new to the industry.
"I was pretty sure I won, although the judges thought otherwise. He devoted his next Saturday Herald column to continuing our debate, and debunking my case.
"I took that as a huge compliment, and was stoked that the great Brian Gaynor had considered me a worthy adversary!"
Since 2019 Gaynor had been an investor and writer for online financial publication BusinessDesk.
BusinessDesk staff said they were "devastated" by the loss.
"Brian and I shared an office in the very early days of BusinessDesk's revitalisation, just the two of us," wrote BusinessDesk journalist Victoria Young.
"Now in Auckland we a have a dozen desks and can't fit everyone in - thanks to Brian for investing in us, the media, and believing in us."
Details of a memorial service will be released in due course.