Michelle GriffithsThe $1 billion AvSuper has allocated the $50 million mandate it redeemed from AllianceBernstein to a high-conviction global equities manager.

The fund appointed Walter Scott to manage about 20 per cent of its $250 million International equities portfolio, replacing AllianceBernstein, which was terminated in early 2009, Michelle Griffiths, chief executive officer of AvSuper, said.

Walter Scott, a fundamental manager with about $30 billion under management, was appointed under the advice of asset consultant JANA Investment Advisers and joined MFS, Wellington Management company, AQR and GMO in AvSuper’s international equities book. The fund does not invest in passive managers in its international or domestic equities portfolios.

Griffiths said AvSuper was impressed by Walter Scott’s “concentrated style”. In Australia, Walter Scott manages money for MLC, and is sold through State Super Financial Services and the Macquarie Professional Series.

She said the fund was also developing a ‘conservative growth’ investment option for members, which would allocate 30 per cent of members’ savings in growth assets, and the remainder in defensive holdings.

“We experienced increasing demand from members who wanted to move from the stable growth option, but not to cash,” she said.

Griffiths said that a search was not yet underway to replace outgoing AvSuper chairman David Leggo, who announced his retirement from an 18-year tenure with the fund on January 27.

“The board will meet in March to discuss that. We expect him to stay on for this quarter or next to work through the transition.”

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