JANA has won its first consultancy job in New Zealand, tipping out a more global competitor as investment adviser for the NZ$230 million Trust Waikato.

Ian Patrick, JANA CEO, said while the firm supplied a couple of “investment solutions” to other New Zealand entities, the Trust Waikato gig – for which it has replaced Russell Investments – was its first “fully-fledged traditional advisory client” in New Zealand.

“We haven’t struck out to conquer a new frontier in New Zealand,” Patrick said. “But if we find there is a ‘meeting of minds’ with New Zealand investors then we will work with them.”

Bev Gatenby, Trust Waikato chief, said the organisation was impressed by JANA’s “focus on traditional asset consulting” and its knowledge of endowment type funds.

According to Gatenby, the Trust was happy to deal with the Australian-based JANA, which does not maintain a local office in New Zealand.

“The Trust felt that JANA had the expertise and commitment to understanding the New Zealand environment and to being available to the Trust as advisers,” she said.

Trust Waikato is not to be confused with Environment Waikato, which replaced Russell as investment adviser with Mercer this August after the council-owned fund lost millions of dollars by investing in the Russell Alternatives II hedge fund.

JANA was also a contender to replace stockbroking firm Forsyth Barr as consultant to the $485 million Canterbury Community Trust, with a decision due this week.

Last month, JANA was short-listed for the NZ$109 million Bay Trust, which was retained by incumbent Russell.

JANA’s entry into New Zealand has also been reprised at the retail level with van Eyk Research recently completing its first assignment there, reviewing a selection of fund managers listed on the AMP Financial Services (NZ) investment platforms.

It is understood van Eyk will start marketing to the wider New Zealand financial advisory market next year with tough new regulations due to take force later in 2010.

Another Australian retail research house, Lonsec, has also been tipped to enter the New Zealand market next year.

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