The independent investment consultant David Bell is to become the first chief investment officer of AUSCOAL Super.

One of his key tasks will be to fine tune the $7.9 billion fund’s lifecycle strategy and to create a pension product for members, whose average age is 42 – though many retire at 55.

Based in Sydney, Bell will also be responsible for enhancing the skills and capability of the four person investment team.

He starts full-time in July after his St David’s Rd Advisory business winds up its consulting activities at the end of the financial year.

AUSCOAL Super CEO, Bruce Watson, said until then Bell would “ease into the role” by acting in a consultancy capacity.

Watson praised Bell, who has published many think pieces online, for his “great thinking around post-retirement”. This aligns with the priority given by AUSCOAL to improve its service to retired members.

“Some funds don’t necessarily want to focus on the pension side, but we have a cradle to the grave view and we want to assist members all through their lifecycle,” said Watson.

Bell said he shared AUSCOAL’s “strong ambition” to improve member outcomes through product design and that the “lure” of having a more direct involvement in a profit-for-member environment was too tempting to resist.

One of the first roles he has been set is to fine-tune the fund’s eight-year-old lifecycle strategy, in particular its retirement phase, which currently has 40 per cent in growth assets at age 65 and beyond. There will also be the creation of a specific pension product designed to take advantage of tax efficiencies.

Prior to setting up his consultancy Bell spent 12 years at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, the last eight of which were spent managing a fund of hedge funds business.

He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a Master of Applied Finance and is a visiting fellow of Macquarie University, where he coordinates and lectures a hedge fund elective for the Masters of Applied Finance Program.

Bell signed off from his business in jocular fashion, thanking his clients for giving him such interesting work.

“I hope I have added value to my clients,” he said. “I’m confident in my claim of being the best consultant within a 50 metre radius of our palatial offices at St Davids Rd.  But I can’t claim more than that!”

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