Symon Parish and Greg Liddell, the heads of investments and consulting at Russell, are searching for alternatives consultants and research analysts as the company aims to recruit 27 people worldwide in a decisive push into alternatives.



Starting this week, Parish, Russell’s chief investment officer, is hunting for alternatives research analysts while Liddell, the company’s director of consulting, has hit the market looking for a head of alternatives advice. Their searches are being mirrored by Russell’s investment and consulting heads in other markets and aim to give momentum to the company’s global drive into alternatives research and advice.

In the US, the firm is seeking heads of alternatives and hedge fund-of-fund research to report to Vic Leverett, the company’s Tacoma-based managing director of alternatives.

Russell manufactures alternative investment products through its partnership with Pantheon Ventures, a private equity fund-of-funds, and also offers listed real estate. For now, the business aims only to expand its consulting and research operations in alternatives.

“We’re focusing initially on building a capability in the research and advice space,” Chris Corneil, Russell’s managing director in Australia and New Zealand, said.

The push into alternatives was instigated by Andrew Doman, who became global head of the company this year and introduced rolling three-year strategic reviews of the business, the first of which was completed in September.

“What you’re seeing now are the outworkings. We’ve decided to beef up [alternatives], and support the way we see markets as growing,” Corneil said.  

Another outcome of the Doman-led review was the development of an ‘active ETFs’ strategy, which is being developed in Australia ahead of an anticipated launch in 2010.

Corneil said four strategies for exchange-traded fund (ETF) management were being tested: active management of ETFs; passive ETFs based on Russell’s indexes; multi-factor ETFs; and ‘asset allocated’ ETFs.

“There might be some combination of manager research and asset allocation we can bring to active multi-factor, or passive, or asset allocated ETFs that can provide targeted investment outcomes,” Corneil said.

Amanda Skelly, an Australian currently working in Tacoma as Russell’s head of product development for the institutional market, will return this month to spearhead the active ETF strategy domestically.

“We have a global team working on it,” Corneil said. “One guy involved in this is in London, others are in the US and some are in Sydney.

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