Six months after hiring Brett Elvish to test its asset consultant, the $1 billion AvSuper has chosen Brett Elvish to lead its review of National Asset Servicing (NAS), its custodian of 14 years.
Elvish, the former executive director at Intech who now runs a consultancy called Financial Viewpoint, is assessing the value, costs and delivery of the services provided by NAS, and is due to submit his initial findings this month.
Michelle Griffiths, chief executive of AvSuper, said the fund valued Elvish’s “inside” knowledge of custody as it sought to determine whether NAS was providing it with “value for money”.
“Sec lending, propagation are just parts of it. It’s a question of what we’re getting for our money, which other services are available, and how we can restructure services and costs to get the best deal,” Griffiths said.
“Profit is not a dirty word, but nobody likes to get ripped off. As a boutique super fund, the kind of scale we can obtain is different and we have to be smarter about how we can achieve outcomes for our members.”
In its 14-year relationship with NAS, AvSuper had itself reviewed the custodian, but now wanted its decisions reinforced by external views, she said.
Griffiths said the fund had “no fundamental problem” with the services provided by NAS and, at this stage, would not consider putting its custody contract out to tender.
“But that remains an option in the new year. The decision will be made once we’ve finalised the review.”
In April, the fund appointed Elvish to review its asset consulting relationship with Russell, which preceded a tender that saw JANA Investment Advisers oust the incumbent.