The NZ Superannuation Fund (NZS) is seeking a new head of local active equities following the resignation of incumbent, Brian Bourdôt.
Bourdôt, who joined NZS in 2013 as portfolio manager before assuming the domestic shares gig left vacant by Tim Mitchell in 2015, will exit the $40 billion plus fund in a few weeks to pursue a career in commercial aviation.
Prior to his NZS career he worked in various positions at UBS, Deutsche Bank and Barclays.
His departure follows a string of senior NZS staff changes over the past year including: chief executive, Adrian Orr; head of investments, Fiona Mackenzie; investment analysis manager, Roland Winn; and head of investment operations, Nikki Bell.
NZS is also currently recruiting for a new chief investment officer to replace, Matt Whineray, who formally took over from Orr in July.
In the 2018 NZS annual report released last week, Whineray says the NZS is well-resourced to fill employment gaps as seen during his recent three-month stint as acting CEO over March to the end of June.
“My personal thanks go to all the staff who have stepped up into interim roles during the changes in the Guardians’ leadership and taken on additional responsibilities – and to all staff for their positive response to the change,” he says in the report. “This organisation has a strong bench to call on and a great pipeline of talent.”
Auckland-based recruitment firm, Convergence Partners, is running the search for Bourdôt’s replacement. NZS has delegated another Auckland recruiter, Kerridge & Partners, to find candidates for the chief investment officer role, which should be finalised by early November.
The NZ equities head position involves running an active investment portfolio of around $800 million with duties including “fundamental research into, and analysis of, companies and sectors relevant” to the domestic shares market, according to the job description.
“NZ Equities also works closely with the Portfolio Completion, Asset Allocation, Responsible Investment and International Direct Investment teams,” the recruitment ad says.
In total, NZS manages about $1.9 billion of local equities split between the $800 million in-house active portfolio, Devon Funds Management ($335 million), Mint Asset Management ($365 million) with the remainder stashed in an internally-managed passive portfolio.
NZS spent almost $34.6 million on employee expenses during the 12 months to June 30, the annual report shows, including about $8 million via its staff incentive programs and just under $1.3 million in KiwiSaver payments – with the latter due to jump in the current financial year.
“In 2017/18, the Guardians matched employee contributions to KiwiSaver up to 3%,” the annual report says. “From July 2018, employee contributions will be matched up to 8%.”
NZS employed 130 people as at the end of June, just three more than at the same point last year but 32 above the 2014 figure.
In total, NZS operation expenses hit $106.2 million – or 0.29 per cent of assets under management (0.35 per cent last year) – over the 12 months to June 30, divided almost evenly between staff, external manager fees and ‘other’ costs such as “trading fees paid on investment activity, custodian fees, IT costs and other professional fees paid to external parties”, the annual report says.
The NZS Board of Guardians will also be refreshed this year with long-time members, Lindsay Wright and Craig Ansley, set to be replaced by “university academic Henk Berkman and professional director Catherine Drayton” in October and November.
Simon Botherway, co-founder of Brook Asset Management, joined the Guardians in August after Philippa Dunphy resigned.