Business Hub: New Oceania Healthcare CEO Brent Pattison, a ‘defiant’ accountant

Brent Pattison is an account due to his “defiant” streak emerging when a teacher told him he was poor at the subject.

The chief executive of Oceania Healthcare had more faith in his ability than his Nelson College teacher.

“My story started with an investment my parents made with me. I grew up in relatively humble beginnings in Porirua east, north of Wellington. My mum was a prison officer and my dad was a shunter at New Zealand Rail and through that, my parents made an investment in my education,” Pattison recalls.

A financial windfall enabled his parents to make an education choice he thinks changed his future.

“They also taught me to treat everyone with respect. About 11 or 12 they shipped me off to boarding school and they made provision of my education through winning a prize in the Golden Kiwi, which was a precursor to Lotto.

“That shaped me into who I am today. I went on do accounting because my accounting teacher in my seventh form year told me I wouldn’t be any good at accounting. The defiant part of me said well I am actually quite good at accounting.”

On March 21, he took over from Earl Gasparich as CEO of one of New Zealand’s largest listed retirement companies.

He calls the company “a smaller operator” with nearly 3700 residents living in 44 villages

He was Jarden’s investment banking director from 2015 till last January when he joined Oceania as its chief financial officer. Before that, he was at Forsyth Barr for three years where he was also an investment banking director.

At the time he became Oceania’s CFO, the company said he had more than a decade of experience in investment banking, leading mergers and acquisitions, takeovers and capital market transactions including sharemarket listings.

“He has specialist retirement and aged care sector experience. Brent is a qualified chartered accountant and has held senior finance roles in New Zealand corporations across telecommunications and the financial services industry,” Oceania said then.

“I had 12 years in investment banking, mostly for property REITS,” he said, using the term for real estate investment trusts and companies.

Involvement with the initial public offerings of Arvida and work with Metlifecare, Summerset and Oceania had given him a thorough understanding of the retirement village sector, he said.

“So I’ve been in and around the sector for over 10 years,” he said.

Pattison is married to Michelle and they have two children: Jordan, 25, and Isaac, 23.

Oceania’s largest development is a prominent 2ha Auckland ex-residential site owned by interests associated with Greg Olliver and ex-wife Sarah Sparks.

That elevated site is on Waimarie St, St Heliers, where it has a tower crane on the tuft ring overlooking the ocean, building 110 residences, 79 apartments and a 31-bed hospital. That is a $110m project in an area with a rapidly ageing population with one of New Zealand’s highest house values.

But he disagrees with reform suggested by the Commission for Financial Capability, Consumer NZ and the Retirement Village Residents Association.

He doesn’t want any limit on how long village owner/operators can keep residents’ money after they die and before an estate is repaid “because we’re very sensitive to buybacks”.

The company is rapidly expanding and Pattison says it has the sector’s lowest gearing at around 27 per cent following a $100m capital raising. It has 221 units and care suites scheduled for completion in the 2022 financial year.

Oceania is trading around $1.46, up 56c annually.

Brent Pattison

Position: Oceania Healthcare chief executive.
Latest film watched: Extraction.
Latest book read: Impossible: My Story by Stan Walker.
Last holiday: at Millbrook near Queenstown.

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