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Provincial Finance directors investing in UC past

27 May 2005

Provincial Finance directors investing in their UC past

All Black great Colin Meads has already given his backing to Christchurch-based Provincial Finance Ltd; now the company headed by two University of Canterbury alumni is giving its backing to a new professorial chair in the College of Business and Economics.

Provincial Finance has agreed to contribute $400,000 over the next five years towards the running costs of what will be known as the Provincial Finance Chair in Investment Finance.

Formed in 1987 Provincial Finance is led by CEO John Edilson, who graduated in 1985 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, and the company’s founder David Lyall who graduated with a Bachelor of Law in 1987.

The company has grown to become one of New Zealand’s most successful second-tier consumer finance companies. This will be reflected in a significant pre-tax profit which will be announced next week.

The arrangement brokered by the University’s own charitable trust, the University of Canterbury Foundation, is the first of its kind at Canterbury University. It will allow Provincial Finance to contribute funds incrementally over the next four years instead of the traditional lump sum contribution.

The University will fund the core costs of the chair and the funding from Provincial Finance will be used to supplement the professorial salary and to support a doctoral student and a personal research grant.

UC Foundation’s Executive Officer, Shelagh Murray, says the arrangement with Provincial Finance is a model the University hopes to emulate in the future for further sponsored chairs.

“The ability for companies to make contributions without having to front up with a lump sum is a win-win situation. We think an arrangement like this will be attractive to other companies and individuals looking to support the University.”
Mr Edilson’s passion for finance was fired well before his days at Canterbury University.

“I can remember when I was at high school lending money to my fellow pupils to buy their lunch.

“Lending money is the basis of making society work. When you lend money people can buy a house or people can buy a business and it makes the whole world go round. That’s the reality.”

Mr Edilson says Provincial Finance’s enthusiasm for the new professorship is based on more than just sentimentality.

“The fact the arrangement is something different and that it’s our old varsity was a big influence on us. But we want it to help the College of Business become more interactive with the business community.

“I think it is very important for the university and for the students to understand that what they learn here and what they do here does have some relevance for the market place.”

Those views are shared by College of Business and Economics Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Healey, who says the College wants to establish itself as a leading research centre in the Asia-Pacific region. It also aims to produce highly-employable students from world-class programmes and to make a major contribution to the economic development of the region.

“This exciting new initiative with Provincial Finance, in which a major investment company will be sponsoring a chair in investment finance, represents a significant step forward in achieving these goals.

“Provincial Finance's generous support will allow the College to attract a world-class academic to the University, to lead the development of new research and teaching programmes in the area of investment finance.”

Professor Healey hopes to make an appointment in time for the 2006 academic year.


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