Brian Gaynor, business commentator and co-founder of Milford Asset Management, died on May 16 after a short illness. His colleagues expressed their deepest sympathies to his family at this very sad time. Andrew Patterson pays tribute to a fearless friend.
Obituary: As I was writing my weekly markets column last night I texted Brian Gaynor wanting to check a particular fact I knew he would be able to answer.
His encyclopaedic knowledge of New Zealand’s financial markets was legendary. He was a one man help desk for many business journalists over the years. Being one himself, he understood the nature of deadlines.
When he didn’t reply I thought it was unusual but didn’t think much of it.
Always the master of efficiency when it came to responding to texts and emails promptly, no matter the hour, I simply put it down to him probably being away.
Hearing news of his passing today came as a shock as it will have for many in the financial services sector who had the privilege of knowing him.
And it was a privilege.
Brian was that rare combination of intellect, passion, charm and fearlessness to take on causes he believed in.
Many a chair or chief executive has been on the receiving end of his incisive questioning at AGMs up and down the country.
But it was never personal.
His strong sense of integrity and a belief in doing the right thing was as ingrained in him as his Irish heritage.
For the past 10 years we would catch up for lunch four or five times a year, usually at Hugo’s in Shortland Street, where we would talk markets, companies, politics, books and just about anything else that was topical.
Lunch would last exactly one hour and Brian usually insisted on paying, always with cash.
What’s more, he never asked for a receipt to claim the expense. He was generous to a fault.
More often than not, though, I would leave feeling like our conversation had barely gotten started.
But that was Brian. There was always that sense of urgency about him. Somewhere else to be and another commitment to attend to. However, if you needed him, he was always there ready for a short notice interview, a quote or willing to answer a question you needed fact checked in a hurry.
Always interested and interesting, he was never one for small talk.
He had his own opinions, but he would want to hear yours. That was the journalist in him.
I will miss his wise counsel, his knowledge and most of all his company.
He was one of a kind. A true market veteran, and a gentleman in the old-fashioned sense.
Little did we know our most recent lunch just a few weeks ago was to be our last.
I had been looking forward to quizzing him on the current market meltdown, which of course he had fully anticipated.
After all, he had seen it happen plenty of times before in his career.
I know he would have had plenty to say.