Meet the people who manage your money

Ever wondered about the people who manage your ANZ Investments and what they do? We talk to Iain Cox, Australasian Head of Fixed Interest and Cash. 

Iain, how long have you been with ANZ? 

I’ve been with ANZ for 16 years, and in my current role for nearly a decade – I was appointed Head of Fixed Interest and Cash in New Zealand and Australia in March 2014.  

I’ve got a Bachelor of Arts (Joint Honours) in Accountancy and Economics from the University of Manchester and have never looked back, really. I’ve been in the funds management and investment space all my career, both locally and overseas.  

It’s meant I’ve been able to build significant specialist knowledge and experience of domestic and global credit and interest rate markets. Since I began my career in 1994, I’ve held a range of roles involving product and operations for the likes of Salomon Bros, Citigroup, Barclays Capital, and Credit Suisse First Boston, supporting fixed income cash and emerging market and derivative businesses in London and Milan.  

Here in Auckland, I was a portfolio manager at a privately owned retail fund manager before joining ANZ in 2007.  

What do you like about your role? 

ANZ’s goal is to improve the financial wellbeing of all New Zealanders. Investing is a key part of that, and I don’t take the responsibility lightly. It’s rewarding to help Kiwis save and invest their money in a way that can benefit not just the individual but New Zealand as a whole.  

On a personal level, I like testing myself against the combined intelligence of a market – it’s challenging and satisfying in equal measure. 

What does your role involve? What do you do on a daily basis?

I manage a team of four people looking after fixed income and cash portfolios in New Zealand and Australia. We’re part of the wider ANZ Investments team, and are currently responsible for approximately $10bn of funds under management. 

Credit and economic research is a key part of what we do. We evaluate the companies we lend to and give them a score. We have views on all the major global economies for growth and inflation to help us position the funds for movements in interest rates and central bank reaction functions.  

I take a keen interest in developments in New Zealand’s fixed interest market, so I’ll often be working with organisations such as INFINZ and NZFMA, and on a range of initiatives around the FMC Act and the New Zealand debt capital markets. 

As part of our investment process, I chair the Portfolio Management Committee. The Committee makes decisions on the direction of interest rates, yield curve shape, central bank moves, and credit spreads based on top-down fundamentals, valuations, forward curves, and short-term positioning. 

I also chair the Credit Council, which defines the universe of entities that portfolio managers can invest in, based on bottom up, in-house, fundamental credit research. 

It’s a busy role, but incredibly varied, which keeps things interesting. 

What makes you proud to work for ANZ Investments? 

We’re one of the largest fund managers in New Zealand, and our size and standing in the market carries a lot of heft. Because of that, we’re able to attract outstanding talent (for example, we’re among the largest employers of Chartered Financial Analysts in New Zealand).  

I’m also proud that responsible investing is one of our key values. A number of our funds have recently gained independent RIAA certification, which is testament to that commitment.  

What do you feel makes ANZ Investments different from other fund managers? 

Our size enables us to be a “full service shop” – we actively manage many asset classes locally and internationally, and serve a broad and diversified client base. Our focus on strong performance over the long-term, while carefully managing risk, sets us apart from funds that may take short-term risk in order to achieve superior short-term returns that may not be sustainable. 

How have you seen the industry change over the years? 

The industry is changing, evolving, and fluctuating all the time – but the past few years have been quite extraordinary. We’re seeing a greater push towards sustainable and responsible investing, while global events such as the pandemic, wild weather in the North Island, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have all played havoc with global markets. Whilst that can be challenging, it also means there’s no chance to get bored. 

What’s your own attitude to investing?

Carefully, and with diligence. It’s not my money, and every dollar matters to someone. I carry that approach with me into my own life. 

Finally, what do you like to do outside work? 

I’m at a desk most of the day, so keeping physically fit – as well as mentally fit – is really important to me. I indoor climb and outdoor mountain bike, and hang out with my kids. Being based in Auckland means nature is just a short drive away in any direction.