The $2.8 billion industry fund AGEST has appointed a former National Custodian Services (NCS) accounting and tax specialist to the newly-created position of investment officer, and is down to the wire in an asset consulting tender.

Anthony De Fazio joined the fund in late October from NCS, where he was senior team leader, accounting and tax reporting. At AGEST, he will help smooth investment transactions between appointed funds managers and custodians. “It’s the first step into having internal investment staff,” Michael Seton, AGEST chief executive officer, said. “He will deal with custodians and managers, keep an eye on taxation and daily unit pricing.” Seton used to look after these responsibilities himself. Before joining NCS, De Fazio was accounting and taxation manager with the Victorian Government’s Emergency Services Superannuation board. Meanwhile, AGEST has dealt new $35 million mandates to each of three international equities managers: AXA Rosenberg, for an equity long/short fund; AQR, for an equity long/short product; and US manager Turner Investment Partners. AGEST also aims to increase its exposure to private equity, from 2 per cent to 4 per cent of its portfolio, with half of that exposure to Australian managers. Among its current private equity managers are Australians Quay Partners, Macquarie, and Industry Funds Management. “We have some distressed debt, buyout and venture capital funds,” Seton said. In total the fund has allocated $60 million to the asset class so far. AGEST is also running a tender for its investment consulting contract. The fund has been with Frontier Investment Consulting since 2000, and is currently assessing tender responses. “We think it’s good governance to review our arrangement. After seven years we should see what is out there,” Seton said.

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