The well-known new chair of the $8 billion State Super Financial Services (SSFS) will oversee an investment process which has become more enmeshed with that of the State Super NSW investment team, since the public sector fund bought out ARIA’s stake in the dealer group late last year.

Peeyush Gupta, one of the founders of ipac back in 1983, became chair of SSFS from the beginning of this month, taking over from the interim chairmanship of Don Russell, who also sits at the head of the State Super board table.

Russell said the appointment of Gupta, who prepared for the chairmanship by attending the last few SSFS board meetings as a director, was aimed squarely at boosting SSFS’ attractiveness to existing and potential clients, and its profitability as a private equity investment of State Super NSW.

“We think Peeyush will have a great handle on how [SSFS] can take advantage of the big changes afoot in the financial planning industry, particularly in its ability to provide full service advice and a real understanding of how clients’ retirement income interacts with the social security system,” Russell said.

With clients currently drawn from active or retired members or State Super, First State Super and ARIA, Russell said SSFS had a niche in helping those with retirement nest eggs around the $200,000-$600,000 range.

State Super has long been interested in making a broader spectrum of advice options available to members. Its adviser fees are currently bundled into the cost of a set range of investment fund and allocated pension product, which Russell said Gupta would look at expanding.

As a pioneer of multimanager investing in Australia, Russell said Gupta would also help facilitate closer ties between the SSFS investment team, now run by former Russell senior consultant Richard Dinham, and the State Super NSW investment unit under Martin Drew.

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