The Victorian Funds Management Corporation (VFMC) will consider external and internal candidates to replace Mike Fitzpatrick as chair from next January, and has revealed a beta focus for its new internal Australian equities team.

VFMC CEO and director, Syd Bone, said that Fitzpatrick, after joining the board to replace previous chair Bob Officer three years ago, felt he had overseen most of the “;change program”; which has seen VFMC grow its internal investment team from 10 to 30 members. Bone said he expected some existing directors – which include such luminaries as Ian Court, Jack Diamond and Melda Donnelly – to apply for the chair, but “;given the importance of the role”; he expected external candidates would also present themselves for consideration by the Victorian Treasurer. All VFMC directors have been Victorian to date, but Bone said the board was open to having an interstate rep, “;recognising the value of having input from other places”;. Meanwhile, VFMC’s internal fundamental Australian equities capability has begun life with a passive ASX50 mandate, while it ensures its dealing platform (Simcorp’s OM3) is properly set up. VFMC has just hired two analysts away from Invesco – Kieran Singh and Edmon Odza – who in due course will start managing a core qualitative Australian equities portfolio, reporting to investment director of equities and property, Kent Sutherland. Bone said the portfolio, and particularly the ASX50 portion of it, would continue to have a beta focus, with alpha generation left principally to external managers.

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