Kiwi Wealth is set to lose another top executive with the impending departure of product and retail general manager, Melissa Vasta.
In a statement, the government-owned financial services group said Vasta would finish her tenure on August 20 after resigning last week.
Rhiannon McKinnon, acting Kiwi Wealth chief, said Vasta was “a valuable member of our team who marked a number of achievements during two separate tenures at Kiwi Wealth”.
Vasta first served in the Kiwi Wealth team helping with the business transition as it took ownership of the-then Gareth Morgan Investments in 2012. After a soujourn she returned to Kiwi Wealth as head of product in 2017, eventually assuming her current role last year, replacing Joe Bishop.
“Under Melissa’s leadership we rolled out our third retail proposition, managed funds, which now has over $200m under management; retained our default provider status amid a reduced pool of providers; and set up the registry project, on course to be delivered by 1 December,” McKinnon said.
“Melissa is ensuring a smooth handover to her talented and experienced team, and we thank her for her hard work and commitment to setting Kiwi Wealth up for further growth across all our retail propositions.”
Kiwi Wealth has about $8 billion under management including $6 billion or so in retail funds, mostly held in the group’s KiwiSaver scheme.
Another Wellington-headquartered firm, Harbour Asset Management has hired two new staff across respective investment and compliance roles.
Lewis Fowler will join Harbour this week as an investment analyst “working alongside portfolio manager Chris Di Leva, in a range of areas including external manager research, modelling and portfolio management support”, the group said in a release.
Fowler spent eight years in various investment positions at BlackRock, Deutsche and Aon Hewitt in his native UK before migrating to NZ.
“We’re excited to expand our team with someone of Lewis’s calibre, with experience across a range of asset classes with global investment firms,” the Harbour release says.
The investment resource upgrade follows a growth surge in the Harbour Active Growth Fund (which is based on the multi-asset service managed by Di Leva) and recent mandate wins, according to the statement.
At the same time, former compliance manager at Wellington investment administration firm Adminis, Jane Ward-Marshall, will shift to a similar role at Harbour late in August.
Ward-Marshall will take on duties “for managing Harbour’s risk and compliance framework, and ownership of Harbour’s AML/CFT policies”.
In addition to her investment compliance experience, she is also a trained lawyer still enrolled (but not practising) “as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand”.
Elsewhere last week, Mercer named Marcus De Kock in a new alternative investments role for Pacific region.
De Kock comes to the Australia-based role from the UK where he was a senior investment strategist on the Mercer institutional solutions team.
He would be “responsible for bringing Mercer’s global alternatives capabilities to asset owners in Australia and New Zealand”, according to a release, that notes “significant client interest” in the asset class from investors in the region.
Simon Eagleton, Mercer investments leader Pacific, said in the statement that the group’s global alternative assets options “have to date flown largely under the radar in the Pacific”.
“But, the role that private markets can play in investors’ portfolios is more important than ever. With Marcus on the ground, we’re in a better position to ensure our clients can take advantage of our specialist private markets credentials to enhance their portfolios,” Eagleton said.
“Bringing together manager research, advisory services, portfolio management and investment operations expertise, we are well placed to offer market-leading alternative investment solutions to our clients in Australia and New Zealand.”
Mercer has almost US$16 trillion in ‘assets under advisement’, according to the release.
Meanwhile, professional director, Susan Peterson, has joined the board of Craigs Investment Partners as an independent board member.
Peterson currently holds a number of directorships including with Xero, Vista Group (as chair), Trustpower and Property for Industry. She has previously served on several other commercial company boards since 2013 after leaving permanent employment with ANZ.
In a career spanning 13 years at the institution (including predecessor National Bank), Peterson spent her final ANZ years as head of the wealth business.
Craigs is the largest broker firm in NZ, by funds under management, with over $20 billion held in custodial assets.