Long-standing Kiwi Wealth chief investment officer, Simon O’Grady, has left the business after almost 10 years with the Wellington-based manager.
In a statement supplied to Investment News NZ, O’Grady said: “It has been an absolute privilege to work with an outstanding team and I am proud of their achievements,” he said. “The business is in great shape and in safe hands and I feel the time is right to pursue other interests.”
He joined Kiwi Wealth in 2012 just as the government-owned Kiwibank group bought the Gareth Morgan Investments (GMI) business from its eponymous owner for $50 million. At the time of purchase, GMI managed about $1.5 billion across its KiwiSaver and private wealth portfolios.
Kiwi Wealth was eventually moved to a separate entity from the bank (although still owned by a consoritum of government organisations) with another business, Kiwi Invest, later established to house the investment operations.
O’Grady was CIO of both businesses as well as Kiwi Invest general manager and a Kiwi Wealth board member. Prior to joining Kiwi Wealth he spent 12 years in Australian in various senior investment roles including three years as Tyndall head of global investments and eight years at the Suncorp group.
His exit follows the departure of Kiwi Wealth chief executive, Ian Burns, who resigned after six years in the job this February.
Acting Kiwi Wealth chief, Rhiannon McKinnon, said in the release that O’Grady had made an “important contribution” to the firm’s investment performance.
“Simon and his team have quadrupled Kiwi Wealth’s funds under management from $2 billion to $8 billion and helped build a leading multi-asset strategy and position in responsible investment that has delivered fantastic outcomes for our customers,” McKinnon said.
She said O’Grady would help Kiwi Wealth conduct an “orderly transition” with Susan Easton, head of portfolio management, to assume his CIO duties in the interim.
“… we are now conducting a full recruitment process for Kiwi Wealth’s next CIO,” McKinnon said.
Kiwi Wealth was recently reappointed as a default KiwiSaver provider in May. In the same month the group announced a major back-office shake-up, partly in readiness for the new default regime that will also see Kiwi Wealth develop a passive-style fund.