QSuper will appoint its first chief investment officer in 2009, aiming to harness internal investment skill, control and oversight as it becomes an APRA-regulated fund, and has appointed Brad Holzberger of Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) to temporarily fill the role.

“The board is looking to the future and asking which resources the fund should have in-house. It decided that a CIO is important,” Rosemary Vilgan, chief executive officer of QSuper, said.

“Investment direction and control is something the board is giving thought to.”

QIC, which manages all of QSuper’s $23 billion, and Watson Wyatt, its asset consultant, heavily influence the investment strategies implemented by the public sector fund.

Since QSuper aimed to be a regulated entity, “the board must have genuine control over investments,” Vilgan said.

It is understood this control may involve the hiring of a custodian, as QSuper considers directly hiring funds managers for the first time amid speculation that QIC is rethinking its involvement as an ‘implemented equities’ platform provider.

QSuper’s previous internal investment resource was head of investment services Michael Drew, who vacated the role earlier this year to join academia. As the fund searches for a replacement, Phil Greenheld will carry out the role.

While the head of investment services position ranked at the ‘general manager’ level, the new CIO would be made an executive, Helen Davis, chief strategy officer at QSuper, said.

“It’s about QSuper and the trustee having dedicated internal resourcing looking after investment strategy in the context of fund objectives,” Davis said.

A spokesperson for QIC said that Holzberger, chief executive of asset management at QIC, would remain “open for consultation” with the manager during his tenure at QSuper.

For this period, the department heads that previously worked under him – Susan Buckley and Jim Christensen of Active Management, Adriaan Ryder of Strategy and Troy Rieck of Capital Markets –would report directly to chief executive officer Doug McTaggart, the spokesperson said.

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