NGS Super has appointed Mary Jane Fallon as its first ever chief investment officer in a role that will see the $5-billion fund take a more dynamic approach to avoiding risk and capturing opportunities.

Fallon, who is leaving Energy Industries Superannuation Scheme and will join NGS Super at the end of this month, will be expected to question and challenge the advice of its consultant JANA Investments.

Anthony Rodwell-Ball, chief executive of NGS Super, described Fallon’s role as a strong internal investment strategist who would continually review risk budgets and tolerances – the opposite of a set-and-forget approach.

This tallies with warnings from the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority that trustees would no longer be able to excuse any unsuccessful investment decision by stating their consultant had advised them to do it.

Rodwell-Ball said: “What we are looking for is a much stronger foil to the asset consultant. We have always believed that we needed to have sources of advice, with well formed and well argued views that are a counterpoint to the asset consultants.”

Fallon was also chosen for her alignment with the 110,000 members, 70 per cent of whom are female. Her previous role as manager of a Methodist pension fund in the United States would also bring a “strong alignment of values” with the membership, which includes many Methodists who joined as a result of the merger with Uniting Church Super in 2012, Rodwell-Ball said.

Prior to her two-year tenure at the Energy Industries Superannuation Scheme, Fallon has over 10 years’ experience as a fixed income manager at QBE Australia and at Siemens Financial Services. She has also worked in Germany.

Fallon will assume responsibilities from outgoing investment counsel Tim Hughes, who is moving on to independent board roles in funds management. Hughes was an investment adviser to the super fund for seven years on a part-time basis.

The NGS Super Diversified (MySuper) option returned 13.82 per cent over the last year and 7.14 per cent over the last 10 years, compared to the median fund return of 6.94 per cent, according to the SuperRatings SR50 Balanced Survey.

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