Graeme SmithThe $3.7 billion Vision Super has appointed two new specialist asset consultants covering private equity and property, with the former moving outside the general consultant’s responsibilities for the first time.

The fund for Victorian local government employees has selected Sovereign Investment Research as independent consultant for private equity, and J G Service as adviser for property.

Frontier Investment Consulting, which previously provided advice on the private equity portfolio, remains the fund’s general consultant.

“We’ve appointed [Sovereign] as an independent consultant and source of advice for the Board,” said Graeme Smith, investment manager at Vision Super.

“We think it’s a more complex area and the board and the committee feel that we’d get additional insights for private equity. Two or three heads are better than one.”

Sovereign Investment Research was founded by Ray King in 2000, prior to which he had been the manager of wholesale business for the asset consulting arm of Industry Fund Services, which later became Frontier.

The private equity portfolio accounts for between 8 and 10 per cent of Vision Super’s total assets, while the property portfolio makes up around 10 per cent ($370 million).

J G Service replaces Pinnacle Property Group.

“We had a long association with Pinnacle as an adviser and when they withdrew from the market we felt we wanted to replace them with another specialist property adviser,” Smith said.

He said the fund was sticking to its long term strategic asset allocation despite the market volatility.

“Over time, we would be keeping to our long term strategic asset allocation; of course that’s very difficult in these times,” he said.

Vision’s Single Sector investment options include cash, alternative assets, fixed interest, property, Australian equities and international equities.

According to industry research provider SuperRatings, the property portfolio achieved a net return of 14.47 per cent in the 12 months to 30 June, 2008.

The alternative assets portfolio returned 5.91 per cent, versus a -12.6 return for Australian equities and -13.8 per cent for international equities. Fixed interest returned 8.33 per cent, and cash returned 6.31 per cent.

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