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Craigs Investment Partners open office at Union Square

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Craigs Investment Partners (Craigs) has opened the doors to its newly appointed office in Hamilton’s Union Square development.

One of New Zealand’s leading investment advisory firms, Craigs says the new space allows for the continued growth of its advisory and client base, and signals its ongoing commitment to Hamilton’s CBD and the greater Waikato region.

“Craigs has been a part of the Hamilton community since it first opened its doors here in 1995. In the mid-nineties, the demutualisation of insurance and power companies led to many New Zealanders owning shares for the first time. Craigs & Co. had queues down the street, with people eager to enlist the support of sound financial advice,” says Craigs’ Investment Adviser Stuart Anderson.

Since then, the Hamilton branch has grown to a team of more than 30 advisers and support staff, servicing close to 6,000 client relationships in the region with over $2 billion in funds under management.

“The Hamilton branch plays an active role in the Waikato community, many advisers are involved with community organisations, recognising the importance of giving back to their local area,” says Anderson.

People-centric design

The Union Square development is a people-focused project designed to encourage activity back into the CBD, and the Craigs’ office includes several features designed to enhance employee and client experience.

Craigs engaged Jigsaw Architects (Jigsaw) to come up with a flagship design concept that could be progressively rolled out to its nationwide network of branches, overlayed with a local sense of place.

“Our brief was to design a space that achieved a high value outcome for both clients and employees, recognising the esteem that Craigs is held in, and celebrating its financial, social and environmental success,” says Registered Architect and Jigsaw Director Lance Adolph.    

“To achieve this, we utilised spatial planning to maximise daylight and long external views. Quality materials and unique design elements were thoughtfully incorporated to promote a sense of optimism and local identity.”

Design factors were used to support employee health and wellbeing, and meet the functional needs of the space. Care was given to ensure a balance of visibility, security and connection between staff and client spaces. 

“The office features an employee wellness room, ergonomic considerations throughout, and a well-equipped lunchroom complete with fresh herb garden. An emphasis on natural materials, good access to daylight and integrated artworks combine to make it a place employees want to be,” says Anderson.

“For our team and our clients, we’ve included a library stocked with investment publications. Investor education is a cornerstone of our business. Each of our clients comes to us with unique circumstances and investment goals. We work in partnership with them to provide advice tailored to their personal needs, backed by extensive research. The investment library is an extension of our commitment to build our clients’ knowledge and confidence as investors. We want our new branch to be an ‘Investment Centre for Excellence’, and building our advisers’ and clients’ knowledge will always be at the forefront of what we do.”

Adolph says the Craigs office exemplifies a shift in expectation around office spaces. “Health and wellbeing continue to gain a stronger emphasis as companies increasingly embrace the triple bottom line – especially when they can see real benefits through improved employee engagement and client satisfaction.”

For Craigs’ Investment Adviser Laura Thomas, the move has been invigorating. “Walking into the office felt like my third ‘first day’ at Craigs,” says Thomas, who was employed as an assistant and then associate, before leaving to further her financial management career in the UK, and then returning in 2021 to become an adviser.

“We are loving having more space to host events and grow the business. We have already hosted a Young Professionals event and will welcome Chamber members for an event in June. The office is warm and inviting, and extremely user-friendly with client and employee carparking, and plenty of meeting spaces all equipped with screen technology for video calls.

“Craigs has been a supportive place to work, providing training and promotion opportunities, and leaving the door open for me to return after my travel. As an investment adviser you can have a big impact in your client’s lives. I am supported by our research and administrative teams to give my clients the best chance of success. The new office space feels like another string in the bow for our client offering.

“Craigs has grown quickly, and we have needed to embrace new systems and technology to accommodate that growth, but at our heart we are a grassroots company with deep ties to our community. I think our new office reflects that.”

Sustainable choices 

Architects are seeing a higher awareness and desire for sustainable outcomes, says Adolph, as companies like Craigs look to reduce the environmental impacts of their operations.   

“In the Craigs office, we have favoured materials with green certification, some achieving a full lifecycle cradle-to-cradle loop. Lighting is on tighter zone circuits, utilising daylight harvesting and occupancy sensors for reduced energy consumption. There are a number of timbers in play in the office, celebrating the natural environment while providing a higher carbon sink than more highly processed materials,” he says.

Local connections

Jigsaw’s concept referenced local iconic bridge structures and materials into the design language. “With their strong relationship to the Waikato River, the industrial form of these bridges represents a sense of connection and opportunity for the region. Abstracting these for material and geometry design language provided the perfect analogy for Craigs’ connection to Hamilton and the greater Waikato,” says Adolph. The Craigs’ Hamilton branch services clients as far as Pukekohe, Raglan, Coromandel and Taumarunui.

The local references continue in the lunchroom, where a commissioned artwork by Ben Bartels, the brother of Craigs Investment Adviser Nick Bartels, is on display. The mural is a celebration of the Waikato, featuring hot air balloons, the Fairfield Bridge, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the Raglan surf break, Hobbiton, and more.

The reception area features a topographical map of New Zealand made by Jonty McCool, son of retired adviser Johnny McCool. Made from totora, the map identifies Craigs’ 19 offices throughout the county and will be installed in each office over time.

Adolph says the reception area is the part of the space that excites him the most. “The combination of materials and spatial configuration are really successful. This is a space with strong textured surfaces and spatial layering, resulting in in a depth of experience which would not have been achieved with a generic design response.”

The nature of investing

Another notable artwork commissioned for the office is a bull and bear feature across staff lockers, representing the cyclical nature of investment with a rising ‘bull market’ and a falling ‘bear market’. Framed newspaper clippings further tell the story of market ups and downs over time – major floats and market corrections – where Craigs’ advice was sought by local journalists.

Anderson says the installations are a nod to the company’s history and influence, and provide reassurance through current market conditions. “Market corrections are a normal part of the investment cycle. It helps for our clients to know that their adviser will have navigated periods like this before, probably more than once. That reassurance can help investors stay the course to realise their objectives in the long-term.”

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