The soon-to-merge Stevedores and Seafarers retirement funds (SERF and SRF) have called in Rice Warner to help them appoint an external asset consultant, following the departure of two analysts from Terry Newson’s internal investment team.

Gavin Mork is set to join NSW Treasury Corporation’s Hourglass investment facility as a senior analyst, while Daniel Park will return to FuturePlus Financial Services as an investment analyst, working under acting chief investment officer Brad Storey. Newson, Mork and Park were jointly employed six months ago by SERF and SRF (with a combined $3.5 billion) along with the $5 billion AusCoal. However since Mork and Park announced their departures earlier this month, SERF and SRF (who will together be known as Maritime Super from January 1) have called in Rice Warner’s Geoff McRae to run a joint asset consulting tender. AusCoal already has an external investment advisor in Mercer Investment Consulting, however chief executive Bruce Watson said the fund was keen to continue to work with Newson as a strategic advisor. Newson himself confirmed that all three funds had indicated a wish to discuss a future role for him. Newson said he was disappointed with the decisions of Mork and Park to leave, and that he remained ready to serve the funds as he had been doing. The chief executive of SRF, Glenn Davis, said the departures from Newson’s team had been a “;shock”; to both maritime funds, and while the internal resource had “;seemed a good arrangement”; it was now not worth the effort of reconstituting. Auscoal’s Bruce Watson said his fund was seeking an investment analyst to assist investment administration manager Paul Coenraads in mandate monitoring. SRF’s Davis said “;the natural synergy between [SRF, SERF and Auscoal] mean we will continue to look for and work on joint strategic projects,” such as the recent $73 million investment, co-ordinated by Newson, in an Investec aircraft leasing fund.

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