Mercer NZ has bolstered its Auckland-based investment consulting team after hiring ex UK-based South African, Brian Kearney.
Kearney comes to Mercer after more than a decade in London working for pension ‘de-risking’ firm Lucida and more latterly as institutional investment consultant for boutique business SECOR Asset Management.
In a statement, Mercer head of institutional wealth, Russell Garrett, said Kearney “will provide advice to our institutional clients on delegated investment solutions, strategic asset allocation, portfolio construction and manager selection”.
However, Mercer is still seeking a replacement for Wellington-based consultant, Chris Di Leva, who decamped this October for a newly-created role of multi-asset specialist at Harbour Asset Management.
The NZ investment consulting world has been volatile this year with both Aon and Russell experiencing staff movements. Aon investment consultant, Guy Fisher, shifted to Russell in October, replacing George Thomson, who took up a role with BNZ in August. Long-time Russell head of asset consulting, Andrew Johnson, also left the firm this May after a corporate re-sizing.
Kearney moved to Auckland earlier this year with his NZ-born wife and young son. He said the shift from SECOR to Mercer represented a change in scale but not style.
While SECOR is a boutique in global terms, the trans-Atlantic investment consulting and hedge fund firm still has about US$40 billion under advice. Kearney, who made partner in 2015, was responsible for advising nine European SECOR clients who collectively managed €12 billion.
“At SECORP we had close relationships with clients, focusing on finding suitable solutions, not putting them on a conveyor belt to products,” he said. Despite working in a smaller team at Mercer, Kearney said the same client-focused attitude prevails.
“There’s also a positive growth story and a strong pipeline of clients,” he said.
Kearney works alongside Mercer consulting leader, David Scobie, and chief investment officer, Philip Houghton-Brown.
Earlier this year Mercer also upped its Auckland actuary count with the appointment of Simon Barker as retirement consultant. Barker spent more than 10 years advising pension schemes in his native UK and a brief stint in Australia (with Russell).
Before shifting to NZ in 2017 he was international benefits consultant for the Mercer Multinational Client Group based in London.
Barker is “responsible for assisting superannuation scheme trustees and sponsoring employers with their workplace savings requirements”, Mercer says.