Pie Funds has made major changes at the top of both its funds management and associated KiwiSaver business, Juno.
In a senior makeover revealed last week, Mike Taylor, Pie founder, has stepped down as chief investment officer in favour of long-time portfolio manager, Mark Devcich.
Taylor remains as Pie CEO and will take over as chair of the almost $1 billion boutique’s investment committee from incumbent, Roy Knill, who held the role since 2015. Knill, a GP, will remain on the Pie investment committee.
Concurrently, Jacqueline Taylor, who started the firm’s KiwiSaver scheme last year along with husband Mike, has resigned. Her duties have been “spread across” the Juno team, the latest Pie newsletter says.
Juno reported about $25 million under management and just over 1,100 members as at the end of December last year.
Paul Gregory, upgraded to group head of investments (previously head of investments) during the reshuffle, said the Pie business has grown considerably over the last year.
“In the short time [since December 2017] I’ve been here, Pie has added KiwiSaver, wealth management, climate-friendly fund and opened a London office,” Gregory said. “Even without those extra responsibilities it’s challenging to be CIO, CEO and a board member of a growing business.”
He said Taylor would remain involved throughout the Pie investment process despite dropping the CIO role and most portfolio management responsibilities.
“Mike will still be involved with the multi-strategy fund because it’s relatively new,” Gregory said. “But with Mark as CIO, Mike can focus on the what, how and why of the broader business.”
From its roots as an Australasian small cap shares specialist, Pie has added other asset classes since its 2007 launch including emerging markets, global equities and cash across a product suite of 10 funds. Just over half of Pie’s $960 million plus assets are currently invested in cash.
“We’ll continue to hold high levels of cash until we see opportunities to deploy it in the interests of investors,” Gregory said. “There are stock-by-stock opportunities emerging but there are still a lot of unknowns in the market.”
Devcich, previously Pie head of research and portfolio manager, would be a “safe pair of hands” as CIO, Gregory said, with eight years’ experience at the funds management business.
Jacqueline Taylor also left the Pie board last November after serving less than a month as director.
Pie chief operating officer, Lance Jones, joined the board in October 2018 following the resignation of director, Noah Hickey, in August. Hickey was appointed to the Pie board in November 2017.
Fellow NZ investment boutique, Milford Asset Management, also saw a recent board change following the resignation of Mariette van Ryn – a director since 2016 – late in February.
As reported last week Milford Asset Management founder, Brian Gaynor, resigned as head of investments (although he remains on the investment committee and board) with Australian-based CIO, Wayne Gentle, picking up any slack.
Also last week, AMP Capital named Debbie Alliston as CIO of the Australian-headquartered multi-asset group, replacing Sean Henaghan, who embarked on a previously-announced 15-month sabbatical this March.
Alliston moves up from head of multi-asset portfolio management to the CIO job. She reports to Simon Warner. AMP Capital global head of public markets – a new position established by the manager last October.