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Goodman trust won't adopt new NZX rules for managed funds

Monday 6th May 2019

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Goodman Property Trust’s manager says that it won’t be adopting new NZX rules for managed investment schemes but will remain subject to the rules applying to most other equity securities.

That leaves the manager of the only other NZX-listed property trust, Vital Healthcare Property Trust, exposed as the only manager to adopt the new MIS rules which exempt it from a whole raft of listing rules.

These exemptions range from no need for independent directors, no minimum director requirements or any need to have an audit committee. The new MIS rules also strip Vital’s investors of rights such as being able to remove a director, being able to approve or vote against a major transactions or having regular annual meetings.

Goodman’s manager, which is owned by ASX-listed Goodman Group, says it has applied to NZX and been granted the right to designate the NZX-listed New Zealand trust’s units as an equity security.

“The board has always sought to maintain a contemporary governance structure for GMT, incorporating many of the requirements of a listed company into its trust deed,” says the manager’s chair, Keith Smith.

“Electing to be an issuer of equity securities under the new listing rules continues this approach and ensures unitholders benefit from the added governance it provides,” Smith says.

While Goodman has long cultivated a reputation for looking after the trust’s investors, Vital’s manager, Canada-based NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust has been accused by some investors of doing the opposite, extracting escalating fees and managing Vital more for the manager’s benefit than for its investors.

In the six months ended December, Vital paid NorthWest $22.1 million in gross fees, up nearly 75 percent from the previous first half, at the same time as net distributable income fell 18.7 percent.

Neither NorthWest, nor Vital’s trustee, Trustees Executors, have felt it necessary to answer a raft of questions on what authority NorthWest has to charge various fees.

Losing the right to approve major transactions is particularly pertinent for Vital’s investors at the moment because NorthWest is in the process of deciding whether Vital will participate in the purchase of A$1.3 billion worth of Australian property.

(BusinessDesk)

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