Managing equities in-house is one of a number of investment decisions being considered by John Pearce, five weeks into the job as new chief investment officer of UniSuper.

Pearce said he would like to explore the possibility of model-based investing in-house, with the investment decisions made by UniSuper and the administration and transactions performed by its custodian. The $19 billion fund re-signed with National Custodian Services in February this year.

“To date we haven’t managed any money in-house but it is one of the things I’d like to look at for the future,” Pearce said. “There is no reason why we can’t, with the level of skills we have in the organisation, particularly in the quant area.”

UniSuper currently has 24 investment professionals, and Pearce said this was likely to increase.

“If in 12 months’ time we haven’t increased our staff I’d be disappointed, I’m a growth guy. If we take on more internally, and we are going to be more committed to the private markets, that will come with staffing requirements,” he said.

At UniSuper’s next investment committee meeting, Pearce said there would also be consideration of the fund’s international and Australian equities mix. UniSuper’s balanced fund still has a relatively high allocation to domestic equities at 27.5 per cent while the international equities allocation is 22.5 per cent.

Pearce joined UniSuper in July,
after spending the last few years as head of global asset management for
China’s second largest
insurance company, Ping Ang based in Hong Kong. He was
formerly chief executive of Colonial First State.

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