Former Morningstar NZ head of research, Amanda Livingstone, has joined the board of Mint Asset Management, bringing the independent director count back up to two after the exit of Mark Todd last month.
Todd, who was also Mint chair since 2015, stepped down in April following his appointment as chair of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).
Rebecca Thomas, Mint chief, said Brett Sutton, who joined as independent director in 2015 along with Todd, had taken on the chair role.
Thomas said Livingstone brings an experienced industry voice to the table with strong product knowledge and commercial savvy.
Livingstone was Morningstar NZ head of research over 1996 to 2001 before spending a year at Westpac in a project management position. She was also head of consultant relations for BT Investment Australia and has been advising AMP Financial Services on ‘wealth integration’ – including the merger of the Axa and AMP KiwiSaver schemes – since 2011.
Mint – a finalist in last week’s INFINZ fund manager of the year award – has more than $1 billion under management including an almost $300 million mandate with the NZ Superannuation Fund.
Also last week, fellow Auckland-domiciled boutique, Salt Funds Management, restructured its investment team in a move that will see the departure of long-time head of research, David Oxley.
Paul Harrison, Salt managing director, said some of Oxley’s duties would be assumed by the incoming chief investment officer, Paul Turnbull, who takes up the newly-created role next month.
Turnbull, currently an analyst with broking house FNZC (soon to be renamed as Jarden), would have a broader ambit than simply company research, Harrison said.
“There’s more information driving markets than just company research and its disseminated much more quickly than ever,” he said.
Along with Turnbull, Salt also named Stephanie Mitchell to another newly-created role as head of data science. Harrison said Mitchell – who has a PhD in space engineering (also known as rocket science) – would bring a unique set of data-oriented skills to the fund business.
“Stephanie has worked previously for a bank but she doesn’t have particular financial markets knowledge,” he said. “But she can give us a different view on how data can be used in portfolio management.”
As well as introducing business efficiencies, Mitchell would apply sophisticated data analytics to portfolio factor analysis and to test investment ideas, Harrison said.
“There are also a lot of different datasets available now but she can help us choose the right ones that can help us position the portfolios,” he said.
According to Harrison, Salt’s sharpened focus on data was important given the increasing influence of technology-led disruption in the funds management world.
He said, for example, as ever more high-frequency traders tap into the NZX, local managers would have to understand better what is driving market movements.
“We’re not going to become a quant shop but we need to know what the quants are targeting,” Harrison said.
Salt has more than $2 billion under management with the majority sourced from two cornerstone clients, AMP Capital and Westpac/BT.
Meanwhile, Milford Asset Management is pushing on with its Australian conquest plans, hiring Marissa Rossi as senior equities analyst in the group’s Sydney office.
Rossi joins Milford after a 17-year stint at UBS Asset Management in Australia, including the last seven as head of research.
The Sydney outcrop of Milford now houses eight investment staff including the manager’s chief investment officer, Wayne Gentle. Last year Milford also appointed Regan van Berlo – coincidentally another Morningstar alumni – to head its distribution campaign in the Australian adviser market.
Milford, which pipped Mint to win this year’s INFINZ equity manager of the year award, has more than $6.5 billion under management.