The Future Fund’s new chief investment officer, David Neal, has revealed for the first time plans to recruit four to six investment executives in the key areas of portfolio construction, the hunt for alpha, and private markets.

Neal said the fund would probe the investment world’s “best and brightest” for what he terms the “leadership layer”. Once the leadership layer was in place, those executives would be empowered with building their own teams. “We haven’t made any decisions that we can talk about how we will structure our portfolios but clearly our opportunity set in all [three] areas is global,” Neal said. “We want someone to drive forward our strategic thinking in terms of portfolio construction – a strategist if you like. “We also want people who can drive forward the search for alpha through the selection of great quality investment managers wherever they be in the world. And we think we’ve got some fairly interesting ways of structuring teams and processes to be able to exploit that as much as possible,” he said. “And we’re also obviously going to be looking for people who can design and implement and drive a private market portfolio for us.” Once the leadership layer is in place, Neal suggested the executive team would recruit others. “At this point I’m looking for people to build their own teams around them,” he said. The fund’s huge competitive advantage in terms of its size and a “clean sheet” starting point has struck Neal anew in the first fortnight on the job. “If there’s one thing I’ve got from the first couple of weeks, it’s the realisation that that is not just important, that’s absolutely fantastic,” he said. Neal would not be drawn on whether the fund was already taking advantage of recent drop in the equity markets. “We’re not talking about our portfolio activity at the moment,” he said.

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