Our history & credentials
Forsyth Barr was established in Dunedin in 1936 by Robert (Peter) Forsyth Barr. After the end of World War II, he was joined by Murray Sidey and Keith Skinner. Together the three partners built a strong business based on sound advice and a dedication to excellence.
In the 1970s, Forsyth Barr was the first to introduce a broad range of investment solutions, including the fixed interest monitoring service. In the 1980s, cash management and nominee services commenced. In the 1990s, portfolio management and Thinking about Tomorrow (the first low cost retirement fund) were offered.
In 1986 Forsyth Barr opened its second office, in Christchurch. The company came through the 1987 stockmarket crash in a solid position, unlike many other firms. We subsequently opened offices in Wellington, Auckland, Invercargill, Lower Hutt, Palmerston North and Napier in the early 1990s.
Over the past decade we have built our service offering around high quality wealth management and advisory services. We currently provide portfolio advice and management services on over $5 billion dollars worth of investments, and provide administration and advisory services covering many billions of dollars of clients’ investments. This includes our range of Investment Funds and the Summer KiwiSaver scheme.
Our depth of service offering and quality of research products are part of the reasons why two long-established NZX firms – Frater Williams and Esam Cushing - joined with Forsyth Barr.
Frater Williams of Auckland had been in operation since its original establishment as Frater Brothers in Thames and Auckland in 1872 - New Zealand’s oldest sharebroking firm. With Frater Williams joining Forsyth Barr in 2000, we gained offices in Hamilton and Tauranga.
An office was opened in Nelson soon afterwards, along with the purchase of NZX firm Young & Co in the Manawatu region.
Esam Cushing has serviced clients from its Hastings base for over 100 years. In 2010 the firm merged its operation with Forsyth Barr in Hastings.
In recent years, at a time when others have been uncertain about their future, Forsyth Barr has acquired NZX firms in Timaru (Munro Hubbard) and Ashburton (Ross Sinclair), and has established new offices in Whangarei, North Shore, Cambridge, New Plymouth, Queenstown and Kapiti growing our presence to 20 offices nationwide.
Forsyth Barr possesses one of the strongest New Zealand public debt capital market combinations of origination, distribution and support. Over the last five years, we have been one of the leading New Zealand firms in terms of syndicate roles on listed debt capital market transactions. We also provide strong ongoing secondary market support to debt issues, as evidenced by Forsyth Barr having the leading market share in NZX Debt Markets secondary market trading over the same time period.
Forsyth Barr has also established a strong investment banking business with a market-leading capital markets and distribution presence, and an award-winning team.
Forsyth Barr is proud to have been awarded Best Investment Bank – New Zealand, in the annual 2016 and 2017 FinanceAsia awards. It has also consecutively won FinanceAsia Best New Zealand Deal of the Year from 2011-2014 for: Metro Performance Glass' $244 million IPO in 2014; EBOS’ $1.1 billion acquisition of Symbion in 2013; Fonterra’s $525 million IPO in 2012; and Trade Me’s $364 million IPO in 2011. The EBOS deal was also recognised by INFINZ with awards for 2014 M&A Deal of the Year and 2014 Equity Deal of the Year.
Leveraged Equities Finance Limited was bought by Forsyth Barr in 2001 and is a successful and long-established margin lending business.
As for our full history of over 80 years, Forsyth Barr remains a fully New Zealand and staff owned firm.
Forsyth Barr is a Foundation NZX Firm and has been granted Qualifying Financial Entity (QFE) status by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). As a QFE, Forsyth Barr is responsible for the conduct of its financial advisers, such as the delivery of financial adviser services and encouraging their professionalism and integrity. Effectively, the QFE sits between FMA and its advisers and is responsible for ensuring that they meet and maintain appropriate standards.