Access Capital Advisors (Access CA) appointed a new head of asset consulting after the incumbent left the business to take a senior investment strategist role with major client Cbus. Tim Ridley will depart next week after three years with Access CA, taking the senior role in Trish Donohue’s investment team at Cbus, the $13 billion industry fund, which holds a direct infrastructure mandate with the deal-making side of the Access CA business. The new head of asset consulting will be Ross Blakers, who had spent four years at Access CA after joining from the Australian Office of Financial Management, where he focused on credit and interest rate risk management, Alexander Austin, CEO of Access CA, said.

Meanwhile, Access CA had lost another partner in Simone Constant, who headed the Canberra-based risk management department. She decided not to return from maternity leave, instead taking a senior risk job with one of the big four banks. Her temporary replacement for the past few months, Justin Webb, will now permanently take the role. Commenting on two further recent departures – senior analysts Khan Moore and Chris Roberts – were involved in the collection of performance numbers in the Canberra office and were not senior losses, Austin said.

It was understood that Roberts worked on Access CA’s infrastructure accounts with the $6.7 billion Commonwealth Bank Officers’ Super Fund and the $3.1 billion Westscheme. These latest staff moves came as Access sought to rebuild its New York office after its four staff were poached by AMP Capital Investors in July. Andrew Cunanan, former head of Access CA in the UK before leaving in 2009 to spend time in Asia, was moving his family to New York to replace exited US chief Tom Majewski, Austin said. He would be joined by one analyst from each of Access CA’s Canberra and Sydney offices, while a “senior executive” from an American private equity firm had also been hired – but was yet to leave his previous employer, Austin said.

Access CA’s alternatives-heavy portfolios were performing well, Austin maintained, and the recent “healthy premiums” paid for Intoll and for Pennsylvania electricity company Duquesne (which was sold by listed Australian infrastructure company DUET to Singapore’s GIC sovereign wealth fund) were evidence of a recovering sector. After a six-year relationship, Access CA lost its asset consulting contract with the $2.1 billion Statewide Super, which was awarded to JANA Investment Advisers in August. The Statewide business apparently accounted for 8 per cent of Acess CA’s revenue.

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