UBS Global Asset Management has suffered the fourth departure in as many weeks from its Australian equities team, with last week’s resignation of research head John Moran.

Interim responsibility for the research team has been assumed by John Leonard, the global head of core equities. Meanwhile yesterday was the first day of work for head of Australian equities Simon Shields after his departure from the helm of Colonial First State’s GDP Plus Fund in May. The impact on UBS GAM of the staff departures -Moran’s was preceded by Aussie shares head Paul Fiani, portfolio manager Shawn Burns and analyst Marcus Truman – was downplayed by executive director of research and investments, Piers Bolger, last week. “;Whilst we fully acknowledge the importance of attracting and retaining quality people, our process, based around our Global Equity Valuation and Global Risk systems, remains a key driver of our strategy,”; Bolger said. “;This process has not and will not change as a result of our recent personnel changes.”; While stories have circulated of funds outflow of up to $1.5 billion from UBS GAM since Fiani’s departure, some of its largest wholesale clients are still reviewing the situation. State Super NSW has a $500 million-plus Australian equities mandate with UBS GAM, but chief executive Don McLean said the investment committee would speak to Simon Shields and assess his plans before deciding its fate. Another $500 million-plus client, ipac, has ceased directing new domestic share cashflows to UBS GAM since placing the manager ‘on watch’ in May following Fiani’s departure. Ipac chief investment officer Jeff Rogers and his team will hold discussions with Shields before assessing the UBS GAM mandate, which currently speaks for 15 per cent of ipac’s model portfolio for Australian equities. The Shell Australia Super Fund has over $100 million with the disrupted team, but fund secretary David Allen said his scheme’s entire portfolio was being reviewed by recently-appointed asset consultant Watson Wyatt, and that UBS GAM’s mandate “;has not been moved up the queue of things we’re considering”;.

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