Smartshares head of institutional sales, Thom Bentley, has left the NZX-owned fund manager after almost three years in the role.
It is understood Bentley would soon resurface in a business specialising in exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
He joined Smartshares in October 2018 to spearhead the NZX funds expansion into the institutional market, targeting KiwiSaver, corporate superannuation and other big-ticket clients.
Under his watch, Smartshares has landed several institutional clients of late, NZX chief, Mark Peterson, told the group’s AGM earlier in April.
“As the market leader in Exchange Traded Funds (ETF), it has been encouraging to see some institutional investors starting to move into passive investment products through the Smartshares ETFs and its unlisted passive products – mirroring global trends,” Peterson said.
Hugh Stevens, Smartshares chief, said the group would begin recruiting for Bentley’s replacement soon with a slew of other top NZX fund shop jobs also up for grabs.
Stevens said Smartshares had also advertised for a head of product, and head technology – both newly-created roles.
The head of technology reports to new NZX chief information officer, Robert Douglas, with the product role reporting direct to Stevens in a position involving the “design [of] straightforward investment products and solutions that solve our member’s financial wellbeing challenges”.
“We’re also looking for a deputy chief operating officer,” he said. Helen McDowall joined Smartshares as COO mid-2019 from AMP.
Another AMP NZ wealth senior manager, Donna Mason, shifted to Smartshares in January 2020 as head of corporate super. However, late last year Mason was promoted to Smartshares head of client development.
As at the end of March this year, Smartshares reported funds under management of about $5.4 billion across its ETF, unlisted products and SuperLife KiwiSaver and superannuation master trust range.
Also last week, the NZ Superannuation Fund filled one senior vacancy in-house after promoting Joe Halapua to local equities manager, replacing Sam Porath who departed for fellow government wealth fund at the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) this January.
Halapua joined the now almost $57 billion fund in 2011, holding a number of portfolio management roles across private and public assets.
He also chairs the NZS risk committee and serves on the board of the fund’s directly owned RetireAustralia business.
The fund holds about $2 billion in NZ equities overall with over $1 billion managed internally and the remainder shared among Mint Asset Management and Devon Funds.
Prior to joining NZS, Halapua served as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs JBWere in Auckland. He reports to head of direct investment, Will Goodwin.
Porath resigned from NZS last December along with head of asset allocation, David Iverson: the pair relocated to the ACC fund where they run the newly-installed ‘strategic tilting’ program, headed by Iverson.
Meanwhile, Auckland-based investment firm, Generate, has hired London-based Ayrton Oliver as fixed income portfolio manager.
Oliver comes to the $2.5 billion plus Generate scheme from JP Morgan where he helped manage the bank’s currency and interest rate risks, returning to NZ after an eight-year stint overseas.
Sam Goldwater, Generate lead portfolio manager, said in a statement that the firm had attracted “some of the brightest talent in the market”.
“The Generate investment team has grown steadily in recent years and will continue to grow…,” Goldwater said.