The cost of Stronger Super compliance and product development has led Media Super to cut the role of chief investment officer.
Jon Glass left the fund on Monday and the responsibility for the $3.8 billion investment portfolio will be assumed by chief executive Graeme Russell, who in his time at First Super also acted as CIO and CEO.
Russell said the CIO role was only part-time so it would not impinge too greatly on his other responsibilities, but he admitted it will force him to “lean more” on its investment consultant Frontier Advisors.
Russell said: “We are a small fund with limited resources and I have had to reshuffle the pack. We are all wearing a lot of additional costs through Stronger Super and product development.”
He cited the costs of a direct investment option for members and online communication tools as the focus of product development.
He denied the decision was due to any dissatisfaction with investment performance or that the merging of roles would cause any big upheaval.
“I am a CEO who was also CIO at my previous fund, so I have background experience and we have asset consultants, so I do not see it as a substantial change,” he said, but conceded, “Frontier Advisors will have a bigger role, I will lean on them a bit more.”
The fund currently has a tender out for its investment consultant, a process which will now be led by Russell and will consider the increased external resources needed.
Russell paid credit to Glass, who served as CIO for close on five years. “One of Jon’s great strengths was that he was terrific at explaining investment concepts to members, so we will certainly miss that. He did really well in positioning the fund publicly as a speaker on panels too.”
The fund is retaining the position of Charles Wu as senior investment analyst.
Gerard Noonan, chair of Media Super, denied combining the roles CIO and CEO was unusual in the industry and said he was confident Russell had enough experience to manage the investments.
In the last six months, both NGS Super and AUSCOAL have announced the appointment of their first ever CIO.