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Why would – and how does – a bank get involved in dealing with private capital? In our final podcast in conjunction with BNZ, we meet a woman who introduces fledgling businesses with committed, long-term investors. Head of Private Capital, BNZ, Linda Sturgess tells Emile Donovan why paying it forward is a win for the bank.

Linda Sturgess started as a futures broker in 1986 – before the ’87 crash – so she’s seen a few different market cycles. In 2007 she went into private banking, spending 12 years in the ultra-high end of the market. Then as a mature student she did her Masters of Tech Futures. The big takeout from that time? We all need to start thinking much more long-term.

Her job as Head of Private Capital with BNZ brings together her experience with private banking and the business banking world, delivering that long-term thinking.

Why is the bank getting involved in this area? “It’s a really common question I get asked,” she tells Emile Donovan. Family Offices and Entrepreneurs are quite comfortable investing long-term directly into businesses, providing capital to fledgling businesses that can help them grow. “We know when a business owner wants to take their business through step-change-growth, it consumes a lot of capital.”  

“It’s about facilitating introductions so those people whose paths may never have crossed before meet and see if they want to go ahead and form a partnership together. There are so many entrepreneurs out there who have skills, knowledge, and networks which they want to share with NZ businesses. For the businesses they invest in, it’s not just the dollars, it’s the expertise that’s so powerful.”

 “For me personally it’s a great way of paying it forward,” she says. “What we are looking to do is create something that we’re doing in a hundred years’ time. Sometimes businesses get to a stage where we can’t lend any more money to them. They need to strengthen up their balance sheet and we can introduce them to some investors who can help.”

Matchmaking isn’t just a case of throwing people together – there’s skill to getting the right fit. “On the investor side we need to understand what their preferences are.  For example, they may have an investment appetite for early-stage businesses or a particular sector like CleanTech.

“On the business side it’s about learning what they need next. If their ambitions are to take their product to the world, they might need an investor who’s built international distribution networks before.”

“It is a long-term relationship. You really need to do due diligence on each other to make sure it’s a good fit.”

The bank charges no fees, and Sturgess says we only have one agenda – “We just want to accelerate our customers’ growth”.

BNZ is a partner of Newsroom.

This content is solely for information purposes. It’s not financial or other professional advice. For help, please contact BNZ or your professional adviser. No party, including BNZ, is liable for direct or indirect loss or damage resulting from the content of this article. Any opinions in this article are not necessarily shared by BNZ or anyone else.

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