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NZ: The next frontier for Asian investment?

Mar 15, 2019

New Zealand’s capital markets have become increasingly open to foreign investment. Owned by the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX), Smartshares is a pioneering provider of exchange traded funds (ETFs) that offers investors in Asia a cost-e­ffective way to gain exposure to the New Zealand market.

Regional investors have shown greater interest in New Zealand in recent years because of its above-average market performance.

Smartshares CEO Hugh Stevens

Available through local brokers, Smartshares ETFs offer diversified, low-fee exposure to New Zealand’s equity, debt and cash markets. The company also o­ffers products that track global and regional indices across a wide range of asset classes. Going forward, it is about to get much easier for investors outside New Zealand to access their Smartshare ETFs.

Helping to set up a cross-border funds regime in the region, Smartshares is building partnerships through Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation to establish the Asia Region Funds Passport in New Zealand. This new scheme will allow approved fund managers to sell their managed fund products to investors in other countries in the region.

Smartshares was the only New Zealand fund manager selected when the pilot program was launched in 2018. Implemented also in Australia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand, the initiative is expected to challenge the well-established UCITS regime in Europe.

Under this passport system, investors with funds across multiple countries must choose one country as its domicile. Despite its distance to most countries in the region, New Zealand is in an excellent hub for these cross-border funds because of its stability.

“We are proud to be ranked by the World Bank as the easiest place to do business. We have trustworthy institutions, such as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, as well as e­ffective regulators and competitive access to global service providers,” Smartshares CEO Hugh Stevens explained.

“New Zealand has strong, robust and transparent regulatory frameworks. We are close to Australia but are different from Australia. All this makes New Zealand a nimble provider of investment products for Asia-Pacific investors. We expect the cross-border funds market to become as competitive as the European market over time and New Zealand is very well placed to succeed,” he added.

New Zealand 2019 was prepared for and originally printed in Forbes Asia magazine.

PDF of the printed report

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