Legalsuper hopes to announce its first ever chief investment officer at the end of this month.
This is the $2.6 billion industry fund’s second try at appointing a CIO, after its search in October for a senior industry figure looking to convert from a full-time to a part-time role did not yield enough candidates.
Changing the job description to a full-time role has attracted a wider range of applicants and the fund is now currently moving into its second round of interviews.
The new CIO will be supported by David St John, a former chief investment officer of UniSuper and Neville Hathaway, a former fund manager, who both sit on the Legalsuper investment committee, as well as by the fund’s consultant Towers Watson.
Andrew Proebstl, chief executive of Legalsuper, envisions a CIO as “the icing on the cake” to such an investment team and a move that would help the fund to be more proactive in negotiations with fund managers.
Proebstl is a strong proponent of the belief that small-sized funds such as Legalsuper have the ability to be more nimble in markets than larger funds, and to be generally more effective than they are given credit for.
To this effect, the fund put out a press release on Monday boasting of a 19 per cent reduction in the aggregate fee for a member with a $50,000 balance since the beginning of the financial year.
The lower fees come in part from a growth in asset size, but also as a result of a 12 month review of the way its major asset classes are run in conjunction with Towers Watson.
Legalsuper has added the following managers: Colonial First State (cash and enhanced cash), QIC Inflation Plus Fund (fixed interest), Hyperion (Australian equities), American Century (overseas equities), Sanders (overseas equities) and Schroders (emerging market equities). The managers it has dropped are as follows: Perennial (cash and enhanced cash), Colonial First State (global credit), Integrity (Australian equities), Platinum (global equities), T.Rowe price (Asian equities).
In July 2014, the fund made a change to its strategic asset allocation by making a 1 per cent increase to alternatives, a 4 per cent increase in fixed interest and a 5 per cent decrease in cash.
The Legalsuper balanced investment option is top quartile over three years.