Matt Whineray is chief executive of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. He reflects on 2019 and offers a view on what the Government needs to fix in 2020.
How would you describe 2019 for your
Busy. We had 35 people join the NZ Super Fund, increasing capability across risk management, technology and operations. We also received a new mandate from government to help develop New Zealand's venture capital market, provided a detailed rapid transit light rail proposal to get Auckland moving and the investment portfolio grew to more than $46 billion, meaning we're well placed to meet our objective of smoothing the future cost increases of providing universal superannuation.
What do you think 2020 will bring?
There is a Danish proverb that says, "It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future". But we know there will be volatility - the market will go up and down, and not always in that order.
Going into an election year, what are the three biggest issues the Government needs to solve?
Infrastructure, housing supply and gender inequality in Class 4 Funding for sports – it's pervasive and persistent and is a great disservice to our sportswomen and girls (NB: Grant Robertson and Tracey Martin – let's do this).
What was your favourite corporate stoush of the year?
In the red corner, RBNZ. In the blue corner, the Aussie banks and their many shills and minions. The stakes, confidence in our banking system. Winner by TKO after 13 brutal rounds, the red corner. Time for everyone to move on and get outraged by something else.
What should be uninvented in 2020?
The rule for deciding a drawn super over.
What do you want to fix in 2020?
My shoulder, it's nearly back to normal after surgery to fix a dislocation about a year ago.
What was your first job?
Delivering the Manawatu Evening Standard, definitely one of the finest afternoon papers in the central Manawatu.
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What was your worst job?
Picking strawberries at JJ's Gardens in Palmy for $2.50 an hour in the early 80s. The upside, you're outside in the glorious Manawatu summer weather; the downside, it's brutal on the back and after a sally lunn and a coke for lunch, you're about even for the day.
If you could change one thing about the workplace what would it be?
More diversity in the finance and investment community. We've made some positive policy changes at the fund in terms of flexible working arrangements, equal pay and parental leave to support inclusivity and help us get the most out of our team. However, there's more work to do to strengthen diversity in the workplace, meaning we can access different ways of thinking to support our ability to make the best investment decisions.
How do you stop yourself from working during the holiday period? Get out on the water. Trust in our great team. Shift the email icon off the front page of my phone.