The chief investment officer of the $700 million South Australian Public Trustee investment service will take extended leave and may not return after his contract expires next year.

Ken Wang will take nine months’ long service leave from the end of this month, after a 12-year tenure during which he helped transform the SA Public Trustee from a direct investor to a manager of (mostly) external funds managers. Wang said he would return to work at the end of June 2009, but did not know whether he would continue in full-time employment with the organisation once his latest three-year contract expired next September. Wang felt he had set up the Trustee’s multimanager funds well with a “;30 year conservative view”;, which had avoided direct ‘credit crunch’ exposure. The funds were adapting a dynamic asset allocation model, which would start to see them emerge from overweight cash positions over the next few months, Wang said. During Wang’s absence, Mercer Investment Consulting will play a bigger role in the Public Trustee investment strategy through principal advisor Justin Willet. The South Australian Public Trustee himself, Mark Bodycoat, would also increase his day-to-day involvement through his chairmanship of the investment committee, Wang said. Wang added that he had trained up investment officer Nick Wiseman to run the cash portfolios in his absence.

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