Large superannuation funds’ hiring spree of leading consultants has continued with the appointment of Andrew Baker of Tria to AustralianSuper.

Over the past 18 months, Richard Weatherhead and Thierry Bareau have left Rice Warner to work on the group insurance offering of AustralianSuper, while Guy McAliece has left KPMG to join First State Super in September 2014 and was this month promoted to chief operating officer.

Baker, who was the founder and managing partner of Tria, is joining AustralianSuper in the new role of head of proposition and product. He has been tasked with helping the fund find “better and more innovative ways” of improving members’ retirement outcomes.

This echoes his former role as head of product at Rothschild Australia Asset Management. Baker will retain a link to Tria as a non-executive director of NMG, the holding company of Tria Partners, while Baker’s executive role at Tria has been passed to Oliver Hesketh.

Scott Bunny, a recruitment consultant at B&K Consulting, said the moves were unlikely to be driven by salary, but rather by the lure of a more senior role in the superannuation industry. He also saw such hires as a natural progression of the close relationships senior consultants already had with their largest clients.

“Someone clever in these funds is planting the seed and offering a more senior role/title and an opportunity to contribute at the most senior level without, or with less, red tape,” said Bunny.

The lure of a senior role within a large superannuation fund has also led to the appointment of NAB Asset Management’s Brian Parker to the newly created role of chief economist at Sunsuper.

A strong communicator, Parker was in charge of portfolio specialists at NAB Asset Management and formerly a regional economist for Citigroup Asset Management.

He will become the fund’s key spokesperson on the markets and the global economy.

Parker will also give macro-economic input into Sunsuper’s investment decisions, as well as communicating the fund’s investment strategy to both internal and external stakeholders.

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