HESTA has appointed Gary Gabriel, as general manager of investment strategy and risk, as part of a restructure in responsibilities and reporting lines and a growth in capabilities.
Gabriel joins a team that in July appointed James Harman to the role of general manager of listed assets and Andrew Major to the new role of general manager of unlisted assets.
The investment team, which is set to double from nine to 18 over the next two years, will now report directly to these three staff, who will in turn report to Rob Fowler, chief investment officer.
With less management responsibility and hands on investment work, Fowler will now assume a far more strategic role at the $33 billion fund.
“The benefit of a hands-on history is having a detailed understanding of the nuts and bolts, which enables you to question the processes or solutions that Andrew, James or Gary come to me with. It provides a deeper ability to pose left field questions which may not have been thought of, and to innovate.”
The growth in the team is intended to help identify better opportunities but also to take a far more granular look at its assets and implementation to bring about cost savings – base investment costs for HESTA’s MySuper authorised default option, Core Pool, were 59 basis points in 2014/15. HESTA has been a leader in measuring the tax effectiveness of the trading styles of all its fund managers.
Gabriel has been appointed for his experience in developing dynamic asset allocation at UniSuper, and his role in the portfolio construction group at the Future Fund, he will assume Fowler’s asset allocation responsibilities.
Harman as general manager of listed assets will look after a team with a listed equities specialist and a liquid credit specialist.
Major, as the general manager of unlisted assets, will work with Scott Hastings, who is relinquishing liquid credit to work primarily as property investment manager along with illiquid credit. Major will next employ a specialist manager primarily to look after infrastructure assets.
Alternative growth assets, including private equity will be shared among the unlisted assets team.
Fowler reasoned that there needs to be flexibility in the development of capital in the unlisted space; if the team could not put money to work in infrastructure, then it could potentially be deployed in property, likewise deployment in private equity. Then it could go into shorter term positions anywhere across this new team.