One of the four founding directors of Access Capital Advisers has left the consultant, which meanwhile is nearing completion of a major Australian equity manager review – although active managers shouldn’t get too excited.

Paddy Jilek, joint-chief executive officer of the alternatives specialist, exited in late January, confirmed Access director David Chessell.

The remaining joint-CEO, Alexander Austin, has absorbed Jilek’s responsibilities, to become “the sole CEO,” Chessell said. It is understood Jilek remains a shareholder of the firm.

Meantime, at the behest of major client Westscheme, Access has completed a review of ‘enhanced index’ Australian equity managers for recommendation to all institutional clients, Chessell said.

Although the global financial crisis has changed a few things about the Access strategy, the preference for low-fee index or enhanced index managers in listed asset classes is not one of them.

Westscheme needed an Australian equity review following the merger of its two Australian equity managers, the quantitative arms of Barclays Global Investors and BlackRock Investment Management.

“It’s left us with $800 million under the control of one manager, so obviously we need to diversify that,” said CEO of the $2.9 billion Perth-based industry fund, Howard Rosario.

The Access approach to its unlisted ‘target return’ portfolio had been moderated by the liquidity crisis of 2008-2009, Rosario said. Unlisted assets now made up 42.5 per cent of Westscheme’s default investment option (where 98 per cent of members invest), with cash and bond exposures currently at 8.5 per cent and 5 per cent respectively, after getting as low as 3 per cent and zero during 2007.

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