For Marama Watana, compliance is all about keeping clients and the business safe.
People Focus: Alana Barron
Director, Institutional Equities & Head of Client Solutions
As head of client solutions, Alana is tasked with building and strengthening relationships with corporate clients across Jarden. She provides investor relations advice, supporting listed companies to connect and engage with potential investors from around the world. She also works with teams across Jarden to develop customised and innovative solutions to client needs.
As director of institutional equities, Alana works closely with institutional clients to understand their needs and deliver relevant company insights. She is also the lead relationship manager for Broker Direct, supporting intermediaries to access a range of investment opportunities across Jarden.
Alana began her career on Wall Street, as an investment banking analyst in the consumer/retail mergers and acquisitions team at JP Morgan, working with senior management teams from leading global brands like Tiffany & Co, Danone, Coors Brewing and PepsiCo.
She then joined the New York office of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, supporting New Zealand exporters in the food, wine, marine and apparel sectors to grow their North American sales and find the right business partners. Alana subsequently served as Trade Commissioner & Consul for three years, leading the New Zealand government’s investment attraction and trade development program in the northeastern US markets, and developing relationships with a variety of investors and corporate and government stakeholders.
Alana returned to finance in 2007, joining Deutsche Bank’s equity research sales team in Sydney and later, Hong Kong, where she worked with clients across Asia.
Alana came home to New Zealand and joined Jarden in 2015, working initially in the institutional equities research sales team for Australia and Asia, before moving into investor relations and relationship management.
Alana has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) from the University of Otago. She is a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, an NZX Associate Adviser, and a qualified ski and snowboard instructor, having spent her university summers teaching at ski fields around North America. Alana is a member of the St Cuthbert’s Old Girls Committee and a member of INFINZ.
You began your career as an analyst on Wall Street, then stepped away to work as New Zealand Trade Commissioner in New York. What brought you back to the world of finance and stockbroking?
At NZTE I led a small team tasked with helping New Zealand companies grow their presence and sales in North America. I learned a lot about what makes a company special, how to sell that point of difference and how to match a company with the right business partner. It was an exciting time and I made valuable connections with investors and corporate and government stakeholders.
After eight years, I was ready to return to finance, but by then I knew my skill set was better suited to working with investors and companies, and that I would enjoy the flow of information and stories that public markets bring.
Every day we have different information to process, whether it be earnings reports, economic data, geopolitical developments or other company insights. It’s our job to gather the data points and snippets that build up a picture of a company over time and help convey this coherently to our clients. No day is the same and it can be very exciting and dynamic.
Tell us about your role at Jarden
As Head of Client Solutions, I come into work each day to help foster growth by bringing together insights, people and capital.
It’s my task to connect the dots between our clients’ needs, and what Jarden has to offer. This might mean supporting others across the business to come up with an innovative solution for a client, or recognising that a corporate client may also appreciate support with personal investments, or vice versa.
A lot of my work involves supporting listed companies with investor relations. This means getting to know the business, making connections with potential investors around the world, and helping CEOs and senior leaders effectively communicate their business stories. I work with clients to plan and deliver international roadshows and inbound investor programmes, and also with the traders to help them understand who might want to invest following these meetings.
As director of institutional equities, it’s my job to find out what opportunities and information our clients value and ensure Jarden is providing advice that is relevant and useful to our clients.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy getting to know clients, learning about their needs and challenges, then connecting them with others for mutual benefit.
On a personal level, I love collaborating and connecting with interesting, intelligent people from across the New Zealand business community. It’s inspiring to get to know business leaders and hear their philosophies not only on how to run a business, but also their thinking on how they plan to leave it in better shape.
Tell us about one of your significant achievements at Jarden
I’m proud of Jarden’s Dairy Day and Food & Beverage Conference, an annual event that we host at Credit Suisse offices in Sydney.
This niche, sector-focused conference provides a valuable platform for New Zealand food, beverage and agriculture-based companies to tell their stories in front of more than 60 institutional investors, and to strengthen connections with similar Australian companies. Dairy Day has become a fixture in the Australian investors’ calendar.
I am also proud of our relationship with Icehouse, which enables us to support emerging New Zealand businesses across a range of sectors. This supports the efforts of our Principal Investments team and opens up a wide range of new investment opportunities for Jarden’s clients. It’s exciting to help foster growth at an early stage of a company’s evolution.
You’ve worked in some large, global financial institutions. What’s unique about Jarden?
Jarden is a relatively nimble and fast growing business, so there are plenty of rewarding projects and challenges here. Although Jarden leads the market in several areas, there’s no complacency - there’s a real sense of humility and a continuous drive grow the business and provide better service. That’s inspiring.
The culture at Jarden is dynamic and entrepreneurial. It’s a meritocracy and when you have a good idea, you’re encouraged to develop it. If you think life is for learning, Jarden is a great place to work.
Finally, although we work hard and it’s a fast-paced environment, we are developing some flexible working styles. This means its family-friendly too, which is not common in this industry.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in finance?
Take full advantage of graduate rotations to understand and try different parts of the business. Listen to your colleagues talk about their experiences and listen to clients - think about what they need and what you have to offer.
Pay attention to what you enjoy and work out which parts of the business suit you well, but be interested in other initiatives too. You won’t do the same thing forever, so whatever you are working on, do it as well as you can and try to learn from each experience.
James has 20 years’ experience in the capital markets, from the early days of his career on Jarden’s trading desk, to his appointment as CEO in 2017.
Stuart Thomas provides strategic investment and portfolio management advice to high net worth individuals, trusts, charities and businesses across the South Island.