AMP wealth NZ has shifted former head of intermediaries, Aaron Klee, to a new investment role as the business braces for its BlackRock transition.
In his new position as AMP head of investment management, Klee will work alongside incoming senior portfolio manager, Daniel Mead, who defected from sister firm AMP Capital NZ last week.
Both Mead and AMP Capital NZ head of investment strategy, Greg Fleming, resigned the firm last Wednesday amid uncertainty about the future fund management capability at the ASX-listed parent group.
Earlier in April AMP confirmed media speculation that current chief, Francesco De Ferrari, would leave the firm after fewer than three years in the role with ANZ deputy chief, Alexis George, to take the reins in the final quarter of 2021 (see related story).
AMP is in talks with US firm Ares Management to sell its private markets arm while the group’s listed investment business (covering most of AMP Capital NZ funds) has also been slated for sale or ‘partnership’ deals.
While most of the AMP issues have emanated from Australia, the NZ businesses have seen collateral damage including the exit last year of Bevan Graham and Greg McMaster – AMP Capital chief and, head of sales, respectively. Both Graham and McMaster resurfaced at Salt Funds Management, which is an AMP Capital underlying manager.
In a note to clients, Rebekah Swan, who succeeded Graham as AMP Capital NZ chief, says the firm was “working through a transition plan for portfolio management responsibilities” following the departures of Mead and Fleming.
“… a more detailed update will be provided when this is complete,” Swan says in the note. “Until then our focus remains on continuing to deliver for our clients.”
Both Fleming and Mead will finish at AMP Capital at the end of this month.
In his new job at AMP wealth, Mead will report to Klee, who has been charged with overseeing the group’s investment process under incoming manager, BlackRock. AMP wealth announced last year it would switch the majority of its underlying assets – including the group’s KiwiSaver and superannuation schemes – to passive investment strategies managed by BlackRock.
Most of the money in the approximately $6 billion AMP KiwiSaver and $3.6 NZ Retirement Trust is currently managed by AMP Capital.
Jeff Ruscoe, AMP NZ chief client officer, said the Klee change “was brought on by our change in investment philosophy”.
“Aaron’s key responsibilities will be the strategic oversight of the day-to-day management of our investment funds and the performance of BlackRock as our investment manager, ensuring that we are delivering in line with our investment and sustainability philosophies,” Ruscoe said.
“The transition is expected to be completed in the first half of this year.”
Klee has spent more than nine years at AMP NZ in various roles.
Fleming, previously a research strategist with First NZ Capital (now Jarden), joined AMP Capital NZ in 2016 while Mead has accrued 10 years at the Wellington-based investment house after a career at Axa Global Investors (purchased by AMP in 2011).
AMP is due to host what should be a lively AGM at the end of April.