Sheppard: I still actively fight entrenched entitlement

Founder of the New Zealand Shareholders’ Association, Bruce Sheppard has tirelessly advocated financial literacy and reform. Photo supplied Fairfax Media.

Six local figures were recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.

Olympian and World Champion shot-putter Valerie Adams was made a Dame. Triathlete Cameron Brown, health services proponent Ranjna Patel, and shareholders’ advocate Bruce Sheppard were appointed Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit, while former hockey international Katie Glynn and table tennis champion Chunli Li were made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

The Times will publish a profile of each recipient and feature a short Q&A over the coming weeks.

Bruce Sheppard

Bruce Sheppard was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for his services to business.

Mr Sheppard is a partner at Gilligan Sheppard Accountants which he formed in 1985.

A resident of Bucklands Beach for the last 30 years, he’s the founder of the New Zealand Shareholders’ Association.

He was chairman of the Association until 2011, during which time it grew from an initial membership of 100 to over 1000 with six branches throughout New Zealand.

He advocated for the Association to develop financial literacy as a key objective, including the development of education courses, particularly for the elderly.

He led the campaign for financial market reform and accountability, mainly the Companies and Securities Act and the right to take an action on behalf of investors.

Mr Sheppard is a shareholder and director himself, having been involved in a number of new and often innovative ventures including Argus Fire Protection Limited and Connexionz Ltd.

The Times asked him five questions last week.

Q. Who was the first person you told about receiving this honour and why?

A. First people to know were my family as such an honour directly affects them too.

Q. What does the ONZM mean to you?

A. The recognition is valued because it is a recognition of the New Zealand Shareholders Association which I founded and its continuing valuable contribution to business and capital market function. It is nice to be recognised for doing something that others honour as being useful.

Q. Does receiving this award push you to strive for more?

A. I am no longer involved in the NZSA but I still actively fight entrenched entitlement. I still challenge the establishment when it behaves from a sense of entitlement. I do so now as a litigation funder funding commercial cases including cases against directors and auditors that believe they are big enough and competent enough to be beyond challenge. So the honour doesn’t change what I do much. It may however change how I do things and affect how successful I might be at it.

Q. How did you celebrate the announcement?

A. The dust is still settling so to-date no special thing has been thought about to celebrate.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you have received or taken on board?

A. Well, that is a hard one and I guess we are all a collection of every experience…so perhaps the best is what I return as my advice to others. Have a moral compass, understand your values and beliefs and associate with only those that share the most important of those. Translated…it reads, only work for or with people you admire and trust in or on a task that you are passionate about and that you think is useful.