After a decade-long tenure with Standard & Poor’s (S&P), a former director of the firm’s fund ratings team, Greg Barr, has left to become an asset consultant.

Barr now works as a senior consultant with Mercer Investment Consulting (Mercer IC) in the firm’s Melbourne office and has been assigned to some “significant” superannuation fund clients, Mercer IC principal David Stuart said. Stuart said that Barr’s knowledge of various asset classes and strong relationship skills suited his new role. Barr is the second senior appointment made by Mercer IC this year, after the firm hired Richard Everingham from Lonsec in April. Shortly after Barr left S&P, a ratings specialist with the team’s Sydney office, Jane Wu, crossed to the FirstChoice Investments team of Colonial First State, reporting to Scott Tully. Following Barr’s exit from S&P, his role was expanded to head of research and was recently filled by former Allianz Global Investors head of retail business, Leanne Milton, as exclusively revealed by I&T News last week. Mark Hoven, director of fund ratings at S&P, said that the structure and composition of his team changed often as managed funds research was a business that experienced high staff turnover. “Most research analysts aspire to go to the buy-side at some point. The assumption is that the grass is greener on the funds management side. “Australia is one of the largest multi-manager markets in the world, and these companies demand high-quality researchers.” Since there was a big difference between fund manager research and other modes of investment management research, such as equities, the skill-sets of managed funds researchers were well-suited to multi-manager products, Hoven said. The S&P investment consulting team is in the process of being renamed ‘Wealth Management Services’, to be run by Jeff Mitchell and Paul O’Connor. Both Mitchell and O’Connor, as well as Milton and head of operations Renee Tannous, report to Hoven. In addition to six new analysts hired this year – Kaveh Jahromi, Christian Baylis, Leanne Fook, Anthony Karaminas, James Gunn and Tom Mills – S&P plans to soon hire another four to the team.

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