Interim Mercer NZ chief investment officer, Ronan McCabe, has been upgraded to permanent following a long recruitment process to replace, Philip Houghton-Brown.
The Sydney-based McCabe stepped into the breach last September when Houghton-Brown departed for the head of investment solutions role at BT Funds.
Post the official internal promotion, he continues to hold his previous duties as Mercer Pacific head of portfolio management while also garnering partner status in the business.
According to a release, McCabe retains duties for the group’s single-sector funds across the Pacific region “while taking on permanent responsibility for the New Zealand Investment team and all Mercer funds in New Zealand”.
However, a Mercer spokesperson said the NZ group was “actively hiring” to support growth in the investment business.
Kylie Willment, Australia-based Mercer Pacific CIO, said in the statement: “Having undertaken a rigorous recruitment process, it is clear to us that Ronan is the right person for the job. Ronan’s dual role will enable him to maintain a strong connection to the business on a regional and global level, and bring the best of Mercer to our clients in New Zealand.”
Mercer NZ chief, Martin Lewington, said the new CIO had already “established a strong rapport with our clients and colleagues in New Zealand, and we’re delighted that he will join the New Zealand Leadership Team permanently”.
McCabe said in the release that despite a “tumultuous year, particularly for our investments team in the region”, he was looking forward to “getting to know our [NZ] clients on a deeper level once my boots are on the ground in Auckland”.
He plans to relocate from Sydney to NZ in the middle of this year.
Prior to joining Mercer in Ireland early in 2019 (he moved to Australia with the company in March that year), McCabe spent over four years as senior investment manager with the Irish Strategic Investment Fund. Previously, he served with a couple of Dublin-based fund managers.
Part of the US-listed Marsh & McLennan Companies, the multi-manager and investment consulting firm Mercer reported global assets under management of more than US$320 billion at the end of September last year.
Recently, Mercer NZ surpassed $9 billion in funds under management, including more than $2.3 billion in its KiwiSaver scheme. As one of the nine existing default KiwiSaver providers, Mercer is vying for reappointment in a selection process due to conclude late in March this year. Last year Mercer lowered fees and boosted responsible investment features of the KiwiSaver scheme ahead of the default review.
Elsewhere last week, Mint Asset Management hired a new analyst to support an increasingly busy investment team.
Henry Morrison-Jones joins the Auckland boutique to support “the diversified funds range Mint has on offer to their retail and wholesale clients”, a statement says.
Most recently, Morrison-Jones was an associate (market valuations) with big-name consultancy firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers. He also served as an intern with ANZ Wealth.
Mint has almost $2 billion in funds under management including an approximately $400 million NZ equities mandate for the NZ Superannuation Fund. As well as chief executive, Rebecca Thomas, the firm has four portfolio managers plus head of investments, Anthony Halls.
Also last week, Australian impact investment manager, Brightlight, named Tim Symons as community infrastructure partnerships lead in NZ.
The Melbourne-based Brightlight is manager of the Te Puna Hapori Fund, the NZ impact investment vehicle spearheaded by Trust Waikato. Brightlight is also working with the NZ government on impact investing opportunities in the Pacific Islands.
Sam Richards, Brightlight managing director, said in release that the firm hired Symons in “response to market demand and growing momentum in New Zealand”.
“Tim will work with our team of highly experienced professionals and consultants across Australasia,” Richards said. “His focus will be on the origination and syndication of investors around single asset demonstration projects, providing relationship management to our range of managed accounts and the promotion and growth of our signature Te Puna Hapori Fund.”
Previously head of Macquarie Capital NZ, Symons also has offshore investment banking experience with the likes of Barclays and Investec.
David Woods, NZ ‘green’ investment advocate, joined the Te Puna Hapori board as its first independent director last September.
“We expect to make further announcements in the near term,” Richards said.