The director of Russell’s Melbourne investment consulting practice, Sam Sicilia, has accepted the newly created role of chief investment officer at the $7.2 billion HostPlus industry fund.

Sicilia is currently working out his notice period at Russell, and will start at HostPlus on March 31. David Elia has been maintaining a dual chief executive officer/chief investment officer role, and admitted yesterday that “;people in the industry have been telling me I need a CIO for a couple of years now”;. He said HostPlus’ rapid growth in FUM, and increasing number of direct unlisted investments, meant “;it had reached the point where I can’t really absorb another mandate”;. Elia has worked with Sicilia before, when HostPlus retained Frontier Investment Consulting while Sicilia was a senior consultant there between 2000 and 2003. “;I’ve been considering creating [the CIO role] for a while and needed to make sure I appointed the right person. Sam is an extremely competent and experienced person whom I enjoy working with,”; Elia said. Sicilia, who will also join Elia’s executive board as executive manager of investments, was at Russell for two years prior to three years at Bank of Ireland Asset Management. HostPlus investment manager Jane Kang, who oversees the implementation and administration of the fund’s portfolio, will report to Sicilia. Elia said an investment officer to support Kang was in the process of being appointed. Meanwhile, Russell Investment Group has replaced Peter Gunning in the Asia-Pacific chief investment officer role, drafting in Christophe Caspar from the equivalent position in Japan. Caspar’s appointment follows Gunning’s recent promotion to the role of global chief investment officer and managing director of multi-manager investments. Caspar will continue to be based in Tokyo, but Sydney-based director of portfolio management, Symon Parish, has been promoted to the new role of chief investment officer, Australasia.

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