The Australian Reward Investment Alliance (ARIA), trustee for $16 billion of Commonwealth public servants’ super, will search for a new chief executive following the incumbent’s decision to return to funds management.

After a little over two years running one of the country’s largest superannuation schemes, Lochiel Crafter is understood to have found a senior executive role in the funds management industry, and will depart ARIA around September.

The current chief operating officer of ARIA, Peter Carrigy-Ryan, will be the interim CEO while a replacement is sought.

Tony Hyams, the chair of both ARIA and the public sector fund with which it is slated to merge, the Military Superannuation & Benefits Board, said Crafter’s departure was “friendly”, and that he was sure “any number of funds management firms would welcome him”. As for Crafter’s destination, Hyams said it was “easier for me not to know”.

Crafter was a long-time chief investment officer for State Street Global Advisors prior to joining ARIA, first for Australia and then for the Asia-Pacific during a final year based in Singapore for the quantitative asset manager. Some industry speculation has him going to Perpetual, presumably as a replacement for outgoing chief executive David Deverall, although a Perpetual spokesperson said yesterday that a shortlist for the role had not even yet been drawn up, as far as she was aware.

Crafter himself would only say yesterday that he would “turn up somewhere”, and that he would remain based in Australia. He lives in Sydney with his wife and five children.

Hyams said the ARIA board would discuss the process for replacing Crafter at its next meeting. He said a lot hinged on what legislation to merge the ARIA and Military Superannuation & Benefits boards eventually looked like, given the original draft legislation was not debated by the Senate in time for the mooted merger start-date of July 1 this year.

If the final legislation called for the secretariats of the two funds to also merge, it is thought by industry observers that Paul Watson, CEO of the Military scheme and Canberra resident, would be a favourite to become CEO of all the underlying funds.

 

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