In a rare case of staff turnover, JANA Investment Advisers will lose its head of portfolio construction and hedge fund research to a big institutional funds manager in the coming weeks, followed by the departure of its head of quantitative systems.

Evan Reedman, who joined JANA in early 2008 as head of portfolio construction, will leave in March to run a lifecycle investment strategy for Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) with former QSuper investment committee member Michael Drew [see related story].

Ian Patrick, chief executive officer of JANA, said while “it’s always disappointing to lose somebody”, the consultant’s 60-person team had the “depth of research” to cover Reedman’s absence, and that he had “reassigned responsibility within the team”.

JANA placed an advertisement in the national press last Friday to attract candidates to replace Reedman, but until one is appointed, former CEO and current head of investment outcomes Ken Marshman would take on Reedman’s portfolio construction responsibilities, while head of investment research Stephen Carew would absorb the departee’s hedge fund duties, Patrick said.

The consultant was also interviewing candidates to replace Chris Kamino, its head of quantitative systems – which includes JANA’s proprietary systems and risk analytics for its internal portfolios and those of its clients – when he leaves at the end of March to relocate overseas with his family, Patrick said.

He confirmed the departures followed Sydney-based consultant Courtney Wilder’s move to the UK last year “for a temporary period” while his partner completed law studies.

Patrick said it was important to note that, unlike Reedman, Kamino and Wilder chose to leave for offshore destinations and were “not going to competitors or clients or anything of that ilk”.

It is understood JANA consultants have recently been required to commit more time to operational work at the expense of investment analysis and strategy. But Patrick said the consultant’s approach had not changed significantly during the financial crisis.

“There would have been different foci during the financial crisis than in other periods, and a greater appreciation of counterparty and liquidity risks, to name just two areas, but that’s not to say that these issues didn’t form part and parcel of ongoing work previously, and were in some cases critically important to funds’ ongoing operations during that period.

“Markets evolve, products evolve, internal capabilities within funds evolve, regulations evolve – each of these changes the nature of the interactions we have with clients.”

The last major, reported departure from JANA was Alistair McCreadie’s move in April 2008 to a start-up venture capital firm, RedFire Investments. But Patrick said the consultant had appointed 18 people since 2007, including former Standard & Poor’s fund researcher Kirsten Temple, who replaced Wilder.

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