Clarity Funds Management, part of the Investment Services Group (ISG) stable, is hunting for a chief investment officer (CIO) to lead its Takapuna-based team.
The joint CIO/portfolio manager role “will be the first investment hire into Clarity specifically”, according to ISG chief, Richard O’Brien.
Currently, Clarity’s investment strategy is managed by Alan Lee and Andrew Kelleher from sister company JMI Wealth.
O’Brien said the almost $500 million Clarity has seen rapid growth since spinning out of the JMIS business in 2017. At launch of the new brand last April, Clarity managed about $275 million across its range of six portfolio investment entity (PIE) funds.
As well as managing the group’s Australasian equity portfolios the Clarity CIO will set strategic asset allocation for the diversified portfolios.
“The CIO will also oversee the investment process for the remaining asset classes by working with the relevant portfolio managers, including MFS International Australia for global shares,” O’Brien said.
He said the CIO would be supported by the JMI Wealth team with further hires likely, including an investment analyst.
“Clarity has grown strongly in recent years, and continues to show a good pipeline for future growth – we feel this new role will allow us to execute well on these opportunities,” he said. “We’re also aware of some of the capacity considerations within the local market, and feel that with this additional resource Clarity will be well-placed to be considered as an alternative option to some of the existing providers.”
Previously, the Clarity funds sat under the banner of JMIS, which oversees more than $2 billion including the $600 million plus it took over from the ASB-owned Sovereign Select discretionary investment management service in 2015. This June JMIS rebranded as JMI Wealth.
JMI Wealth is a subsidiary of ISG, which also includes Devon Funds Management in its stable of assets. Devon founder, Paul Glass, owns almost half of ISG via the Investment Hub Trustees vehicle.
Meanwhile, Milford Asset Management is gearing up for an Australian invasion with the appointment of a head of distribution across the Tasman.
Milford lured Sydney-based ex-pat New Zealander, Regan van Berlo, from Morningstar to take up the new sales role.
Troy Swann, Milford chief, said the $5 billion plus Auckland-headquartered manager planned to build a distribution footprint in Australia among independent financial advisory (IFA) groups.
“We want to build our business in Australia via IFAs,” Swann said. “But we’re taking a long-term view in attracting new Australian clients.”
Late last year the manager launched its first Australian-domiciled fund, the Milford Australian Absolute Return Growth Fund. However, the Australian fund, modeled on Milford’s flagship NZ Active Growth product, had to date sourced most of its money from investors based on this side of the ditch, Swann said.
No mainstream NZ fund manager has ever cracked the Australian market but Swann – who originally hails from Australia – said Milford was committed to the market.
“We have a team of six investment professionals in Sydney, led by Wayne Gentle [an Australian] who is well-respected in the market,” he said. “The team is really just like an Australian boutique manager.”
Swann said there was a long lead-in time gaining purchase in the Australian advisory market with a number of gatekeepers to convince including research houses, investment platforms, financial planning dealer groups as well as individual advisers.
He said there would be some “forward planning” to do before van Berlo began door-knocking.
At Morningstar, van Berlo was national business development manager for the researcher’s institutional investment management products, which include the former Intech and Ibbotson ranges.
Last week Morningstar Investment Management Australia appointed Matt Wacher as the group’s Asia-Pacific head. Wacher, previously with the family office Cambooya, takes over in January next year from incumbent, Andrew Lill, who is shifting to Chicago as Morningstar Investment Management Americas chief investment officer.
Well-known investment researcher, Jody Fitzgerald, will also join Morningstar Investment Management Australia at the end of November as head of institutional portfolio management and solutions. Fitzgerald was most recently the head of investment product and strategy for Australian Unity Investment. Prior to that, she held other senior management roles at UBS Wealth Management, Deutsche Asset Management, and Skandia. Coincidentally, Skandia actually acquired InTech from its founders before later selling it to Morningstar.
While Morningstar has no institutional investment presence in NZ, it manages about $9 billion in Australia and almost $210 billion globally.