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Horsley retires from Ernst & Young

Graeme Horsley has retired as national director of the Ernst & Young real estate group in New Zealand, after 14 years at the accountancy firm.

Previously he was with Darrochs, based in Wellington. But with both groups, as guests at his retirement function in Auckland tonight frequently mentioned, Mr Horsley made an international career of valuation, stemming largely from his work on asset valuation at Wellington Airport.

Back home, they pointed to leads he had taken in valuation, one of which arose in his work for Sir Bob Jones in his High Court defence against McConnell Dowell. MacDow was developer of the building on Albert St, Auckland, which became the Coopers & Lybrand Tower and now the ANZ Centre. Robt Jones Investments Ltd contracted to buy it but, in the sharp post-1987 downturns of the property & share markets, Sir Bob criticised the sub-9ft space immediately inside the windows on every floor.

What the case was really about, Mr Horsley said, was that RJI “had bought a pup.” But out of it also came recognition that valuers should go beyond face rents to assess market values. They had recognised a difference between values of new & old buildings, but not between face & effective rents.

Mr Horsley also mentioned the most fascinating person he’d met in the property industry – Sam Zell, head of the Equity group of real estate investment trusts in the US, whose knowledge was international, extending to New Zealand.

You can blame Mr Horsley for the attention given on The Bob Dey Property Report to Equity Office & Mr Zell’s other trusts & interests. Several years ago Mr Horsley returned to Auckland, as usual bubbling with enthusiasm, keen to let people know about Mr Zell, his knowledge, and his enthusiasm.

Equity Office tells you all the minute detail listed property entities in New Zealand find it troublesome or displeasing to divulge to their owners & the people who maintain markets – investors.

Mr Horsley also told one against himself, arising from valuation work with Telecom chairman Rod Deane. Negotiations were long & hard, got down to a single decimal point, which led Mr Horsley to exclaim that they were only point one away from an agreement. Dr Deane reminded him: “That’s not point one, Mr Horsley, that’s $100 million.”

Mr Horsley was president of the Institute of Valuers from 1985-87, was the institute’s representative on the International Valuation Standards Committee for 12 years, including 4 as chairman, and was made a fellow of the institute in 1998.

A work likely to be important for some time yet is the Infrastructure asset valuation guidelines which he co-authored.

Retired, but not fully so: Mr Horsley said he “won’t be riding off into the sunset.” His programme sounds more like other people’s day jobs than the life of a part-timer playing golf at Mt Maunganui.


Mr Horsley’s expert report on Commerce Commission views on infrastructure asset valuation

Equity Office Property Trust

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