Lloyd Kavanagh


Lloyd is an internationally acclaimed financial services lawyer and deal maker. He is also a sought-after adviser on investment funds, insurance, banking, FinTech, financial services regulation, and corporate governance.

He is highly ranked in major legal directories, including as Band 1 for Financial Services by Chambers Asia-Pacific and in the Hall of Fame for Investment Funds by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific.

Lloyd is described by clients as “a seasoned professional who combines deep technical knowledge of New Zealand law and keen commercial judgement. He is also a pleasure to work with, even under pressure and never loses his dry sense of humour” – The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022. He is responsive and efficient, with client interests at the forefront of what he does.

Lloyd is the founder of MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ highly acclaimed Financial Services Team and is also a former Chair of the firm. He advises many of New Zealand’s top financial institutions and boutiques. Major clients include ANZ Bank, ASB Bank, KiwiBank, TSB Bank, Westpac Bank, Aon, ANZ Investments, ASB Group Investments, Generate Wealth, KiwiWealth, Milford Asset Management, Pie Funds, and Sharesies. International clients such as Klarna Bank and Sumitomo Mitsubishi Banking Corporation also seek out his counsel. He has also advised the NZ Banker’s Association, the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry of Justice on key regulatory and governance issues.

He has extensive experience in public offers, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and restructuring projects. He also advises on securities regulation including the Financial Markets Conduct Act (FMCA), anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), bank and non-bank deposit-taker regulation (Banking (Prudential Supervision) Act and Non-Bank Deposit-Takers Act), and the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act. He is a member of the Financial Services Council Sustainable Investment Working Group and was a member of the Ministry of Justice’s Industry Advisory Group on AML/CFT.

Lloyd is a frequent thought leadership speaker and has been widely published. He has written articles and spoken at conferences in New Zealand and overseas on topics such as the implications of climate change for fund managers and company directors, digital identity in the context of AML/CFT, conduct and culture for financial institutions, and trading in times of stress. Lloyd is also a co-author of leading text Morison’s Company & Securities Law and of MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ FMCA Roadmap.

For his work on financial markets law reform, Lloyd was made a Fellow of the Institute of Finance Professionals New Zealand Inc (INFINZ). A former member of the Securities Commission, he has strong relationships with key regulators such as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) and the FMA.

Prior to re-joining MinterEllisonRuddWatts in 2008, Lloyd held several senior executive roles at New Zealand’s largest company, Fonterra, including as Associate Director for M&A. He was lead director for Fonterra on boards in Chile and Israel, and was instrumental in major transactions in Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. He continues to have wide international experience and connections.

Career highlights

Advising Dai-ichi Life of Japan on their NZ$1 billion acquisition of Partners Group Holdings Limited, the parent of Partners Life, New Zealand's second largest life insurer, including engagement with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as prudential regulator.

Advising Blackstone on NZ aspects of their strategic global partnership with Resolution Life, which has operations in Bermuda, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. The transaction includes raising up to US$3 billion of new equity capital, including a US$500 million investment from Blackstone, and Blackstone becoming Resolution Life’s investment manager for certain key areas, of up to US$25 billion in the first year.

Advising Aon NZ on the sale of its $1 billion FUM retirement savings business (including Aon KiwiSaver) to Fisher Funds including transfer of shares in AonSaver Limited and Superannuation Nominees Limited and the assignment and/or novation of relevant contracts.

Advised ASB’s fund manager subsidiary, ASBGI, on the transfer to NZX subsidiary SmartShares Limited of the management rights of the ASB Superannuation Master Trust. The Trust includes more than $1.8 billion in retirement savings from more than 17,500 members across more than 100 employer groups. The transaction involved the assignment and/or novation of relevant contracts, as well as compliance with the FMCA and FMA approvals.

Advising a major New Zealand financial institution on the corporate governance and disclosure risk inherent in the commitments made in its proposed Environmental and Social Policy. Advice included the adequacy of processes to manage that risk, including potential ‘greenwashing’ claims by regulators or activists if representations are unsubstantiated or insufficiently supported by internal processes and procedures.

Assisted TSB Bank (and others, including four insurers, and several adviser and fund manager businesses) with the transition of their financial advice services under the new Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act adviser regime, including strategic advice on their obligations, licensing, and training requirements. The work also involved significant engagement with the FMA as regulator.

Advised a major bank on a range of compliance issues in relation to its AML/CFT obligations including engagement with a Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) review, advice on its prescribed transaction reporting obligations and international payments and assisting with resolution of issues with the RBNZ.

Assisting ANZ Bank with the closure and winding up of the $3.2 billion Bonus Bonds managed investment scheme. The transaction involved an iconic publicly offered New Zealand scheme, and required strategic advice on a wide range of legal, governance and reputational issues, as well as liaison with the FMA and the supervisor.

Assisting, separately, a major bank and a major life insurer on their responses to the RBNZ/FMA conduct and culture review of life insurers and banks, including the plans to address gaps identified by the review. Separately, advising an Australian bank on the implications of implementing Australia’s Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) to its New Zealand subsidiary and accountable persons.

Advising a leading cryptocurrency exchange on all aspects of its business, including compliance with New Zealand financial services and AML/CFT law requirements.

Helping Milford Asset Management over many years with its award-winning funds management and financial advice business, including KiwiSaver assets, which continues to grow to more than $87 billion. This has included transitioning its seven Milford Unit Trust PIE Funds, three Milford KiwiSaver Scheme funds and eight Milford wholesale funds to the FMCA regime, establishing multiple new funds subsequently, assisting with disclosure documents, regulatory advice, and assisting with the transition to the new financial advisers regime.

  • Board Member, National Provident Fund
  • Former Director and Chair, Due Diligence Committee, AMP Services (NZ) Limited and AMP Superannuation (NZ) Limited
  • Former Director, The Banking and Financial Services Law Association Limited
  • Former Board Member, Lawyers for Climate Action NZ Inc
  • Fellow, Institute of Finance Professionals New Zealand (INFINZ) Securities Law Review Working Group
  • Member and Sub-committee Member, Financial Services Council
  • Member, Investment Implementation Group, Toitū Tahua Centre for Sustainable Finance
  • Former Member, New Zealand Securities Commission
Achievements and recognition
  • Band 1, Financial Services, Chambers Asia-Pacific
  • Band 1 team, Financial Services, Chambers Asia-Pacific
  • Hall of Fame, Investment Funds, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific
  • Tier 1 team, Investment Funds, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific
  • Recognised, Investment and Mutual Funds, Best Lawyers
  • Recognised, Corporate Governance and Compliance Practice, Best Lawyers