CHRISTENSEN_Jim_webTelstra Super now has a complete internal investment team after recruiting its new head of alternatives from boutique funds manager Warakirri Asset Management.

The $10 billion fund has appointed Kate Misic, who has worked as a senior portfolio analyst with Warrakirri for more than five years, to manage its investments in listed alternative strategies, primarily hedge funds, confirmed chief investment officer Jim Christensen.

Misic’s time at Warakirri, during which she worked on multi-manager Australian equity and direct fixed income portfolios, and previously as an alternatives-focused analyst with Frontier Investment Consulting and Wilshire Private Markets in Australia, gave her “a very strong background in active management and portfolio monitoring,” Christensen said.

Such direct portfolio management experience would help further Telstra Super’s transition to direct hedge fund investments, and the after-tax structures learnt at Warakirri would be useful when it came to investing with offshore managers, he said.

The “more illiquid” alternatives strategies that the corporate fund invests in will be overseen by the newly appointed private equity portfolio manager, Robert Talevski, and head of property and infrastructure, Greg Lee. The fund’s head of Australian equities, John Eliopolous, will also provide strategic private equity input. The Telstra Super board meets today to finalise the fund’s strategic allocation to hedge funds, which currently stands at “a couple of per cent,” Christensen said.

Misic’s appointment completes the renewal of the Telstra Super internal team, which experienced an outflow of key staff in the past eight months, beginning with long-term investments boss Steve Merlicek and Australian equities head Dan Farmer to IOOF Holdings, and former head of alternatives Nicole Connolly to the consulting arm of Russell Investments last month.

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