Continuous Disclosure is a market news column, including analysis and opinion. Edited by Duncan Bridgeman, Tamsyn Parker and Jamie Gray.
In today's edition:
• Sir John Key's new gig
• NZX unfazed by Cannasouth flop
• Banking's expensive business
• Not easy being green
• Gabriel Makhlouf's farewell function
ANZ Bank New Zealand chairman Sir John Key has been appointed to the board of New York-listed cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks.
Palo Alto said it had appointed Lorraine Twohill, chief marketing officer at Google LLC, and Key.
"As we continue to advance our cybersecurity leadership and help organisations navigate their cloud transformation, I am pleased to welcome both Lorraine and Sir John to our board of directors," said Nikesh Arora, chairman and CEO of Palo Alto Networks.
"We look forward to their unique perspectives and contributions to our strategy and growth," Arora said in a statement.
Twohill currently leads global marketing for all of Google's products and services.
"Sir John will bring to the board extensive experience in foreign affairs, investment banking and finance," Arora said.
Palo Alto points out that Key spent nearly 20 years in international finance, primarily for Bankers Trust of New Zealand and Merrill Lynch in Singapore, London and Sydney.
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Key is a member of the board of directors for the parent Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd and serves on the board of directors for Air New Zealand Ltd.
He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting from the University of Canterbury.
Palo Alto says its mission is to "protect our way of life in the digital age by preventing successful cyberattacks".
NZX unfazed by Cannasouth flop
Cannabis stock Cannasouth may have been the primary first capital raising on the NZX for two years but chief executive Mark Peterson is happy with the way the exchange is working.
"At the end of the day, the market is more than just IPOs," he says.
"It's more about capital raising generally across all security classes," Peterson told Stock Takes at Cannasouth's debut on the exchange this week.
Peterson, citing media speculation, said he was optimistic that similar issues would follow Cannasouth.
The possibles in the cannabis space are Hikurangi, Pure Cann, Setek and Helius Therapeutics, but it remains very early days and much will depend on how Cannasouth travels.
Last week, NZX and global asset manager BlackRock launched eight new exchange-traded funds, including two thematic funds that target automation and robotics and healthcare technology.
Of the other six, five provide international equity exposure to US, European, Japanese, emerging markets and global markets that screen out environmentally and socially harmful activities such as nuclear weapons, thermal coal, tobacco and oil sands. The last one is a global aggregate bond ETF.
The exchange sees ETFs as one of several strings to reinvigorate growth in the capital market.
Petersen pointed to the funds' listing as evidence that things are still ticking over at the NZX, and he highlighted the success of the exchange's debt trading platform.
"There has been 10 retail debt issues this year and there will be others before the end of the year, so we think we are in good shape," he said.
All eyes will be on how Cannasouth — the market's first cannabis-related stock — fares.
The stock started at a small premium to its 50c offer price but then slumped to 40c.
The company has gone to great lengths to emphasise that its an early-stage company and that it faces a lot of uncertainty in the medical cannabis space.
"There are regulatory risks and there is competition that we need to be aware of, but there is also at the end of the day opportunity as well," chief executive Mark Lucas said.
Unlike Australia's ASX, the NZX does not require promoters of new issues to hold stock in escrow for a two-year period before they can sell.
Cannasouth founders Lucas and Nic Foreman saw their 34.3 per cent holdings fall to 27.6 per cent each, due to the dilutive effect of the issue.
But Lucas told Stock Takes he does not plan to sell any time soon.
The sudden departure of ANZ CEO David Hisco this week because of a "disagreement" over his expenses will have a few in the sector wondering who might be next, and how far back people may look.
The banking sector abounds with tales of generous expenses and some luxurious lifestyles led by those at the top. Of course, many of the stories are told by competitors and rivals so they have to be taken with a pinch of salt.
One, though, that has been recurring is the tale of one CEO who insisted on a private lift from his car to make his walk to the office a bit easier ... surely it can't be true.
Not easy being green
More than a year after it was announced and six months after it was launched, New Zealand Green Investment Finance Ltd has apparently opened its doors for business.
It will get $100 million to invest over the next four years, starting with $40m, to co-fund new energy, technology and general "green" investments with the private sector.
It is not an insignificant sum, but to put it in perspective, $100m would only buy an average-sized windfarm.
Aside from the $100m to spend, Green Investment Finance Ltd is getting $30m to administer it.
Not many private sector investment funds could get away with that expense to investment ratio; perhaps green investment is just not that easy.
Gabriel Makhlouf's farewell function
Gabriel Makhlouf's farewell function was not as awkward as many feared it would be. Almost everyone showed good humour and focused on the big picture and not the sideshows of recent weeks.
However, Makhlouf's no-show at his last possible select committee hearing this week was a sad ending to his career in NZ.
Rushed into the office by the previous Government — he had to race to get his citizenship ahead of his appointment, Makhlouf spent the last few weeks under a cloud and being hounded for pretty poor handling of the Budget.
There is no word on who will replace him at the head of Treasury and the State Service Commission does not seem to have any sense of urgency despite knowing for months that the position has to be filled.