Esoteric, asset-based securities have failed to make much headway down at this corner of the globe.

The popularity of David Bowie's inimitable music has endured in this country but the same cannot be said for the financial instruments he trail-blazed.

The performer's famous "Bowie bonds" are celebrated for pioneering the market for weird-and-wild securities. They netted US$55 million in 1997 in exchange for a decade worth of royalties from 25 Bowie albums. That catalogue featured scores of chart-topping hits (think Changes, Let's Dance and Golden Years), although most had long-since peaked by the time of the deal.

David Bowie: The man who brought music to bonds
The business of being Bowie

Though earning a AAA credit rating at the time, by 2004 the bonds were downgraded to just above junk status as music piracy began raiding the recording industry's revenues.


That was not before, however, they gave the market all sorts of ideas about what could be securitised.

"Not only were they followed by a number of other artists, but they set the template for deals backed by a whole range of assets", one London-based money manager told Bloomberg.

One was the US$600 million sale of bonds by the owners of the Snoopy and Charlie Brown comic in 2012.

Another, in 2014, involved American restaurant chain Hooters selling US$300 million in bonds associated with its franchise agreement.

A pop star's death, while a tragedy for their fans, is traditionally a windfall for recording companies, which cash in on a surge in music sales.

That year alone almost US$22 billion worth of bonds linked to unusual types of assets were sold in the United States.

But despite their popularity continuing to grow, esoteric asset-backed securities -- like the Bowie bond - are rare in this country.

"We're a less sophisticated market," one fixed-income expert told Business Insider this week.

"When you think of all the sophisticated products that got sold prior to the GFC only tiny fraction of those types found their way down to this part of the world."

Racking up Vevo views

A pop star's death, while a tragedy for their fans, is traditionally a windfall for recording companies, which cash in on a surge in music sales.

Video, is now also part of this mix and Bowie's passing this week likely helped the top line of Universal and Sony, owners of online streaming service Vevo.

Bowie fans racked up a record number of Vevo video views on the day after he died, snatching the top-spot from British singer Adele.

The video for Lazarus, a song from Bowie's final album Blackstar, was the single most-watched piece on Vevo on Monday, viewed 11.1 million times.

Taxing time for some

The hordes of workers bemoaning their return to the office haven't had it as tough as a handful of Auckland businesspeople hauled into court this week accused of tax offences.

Accountant Stephen Naismith Fleming, 63, had his first court appearance on Tuesday for a string of dishonesty charges brought by Inland Revenue.

The Mission Bay resident, according to court documents, is accused of dishonestly using donate rebate forms with the intent to get tens of thousands of dollars from the tax department. The charges, if proven, come with a maximum penalty of 7 years' jail.

Another businessperson in the IRD's sights is company director Joanna Lesley Wilson, who also appeared in the Auckland District Court this week. She is accused of aiding or abetting Runty (a company formerly called The Ultimate Recruitment Corporation) to knowingly allow Kiwisaver, PAYE and student loan deductions for a purpose other than paying Inland Revenue.

The charges the 45-year-old faces come with a maximum penalty of 5 years' jail, if proven.

Lady Deborah Chambers QC. Photo / Greg Bowker
Lady Deborah Chambers QC. Photo / Greg Bowker

Estate of play

Full details of the $2.5 million fight over a late judge's estate have been kept by the High Court.

Justice Sir Robert Chambers died peacefully in his sleep in 2013, aged 59. He was survived by his wife, leading divorce lawyer Lady Deborah Chambers, QC, his sons from his first marriage, David and Christopher, and stepdaughters Caitlin and Zelda.

David Chambers, in his early 30s, is now fighting Lady Deborah and another executor of his father's estate in the High Court. A decision in the case is expected in the coming weeks.

Business Insider attempted to get access to the court file but faced strong opposition from Lady Deborah because of the personal information it contained.

Justice Jillian Mallon agreed and has rejected Business Insider's request. "At this stage of the proceedings I am not satisfied that the relevant public interests served by granting the application outweigh the privacy interests," Justice Mallon said.