Greg Fernance will step down from his role as head of investment and capital management at the $1.4 billion University of Sydney investment portfolio.

Fernance, who has held the role for 12 years, is looking to stay in the endowment investment space either at an operational level or a trustee level.

A replacement is expected to be announced shortly.

Mark Easson, chief financial officer of the University of Sydney, paid tribute to Fernance’s work, in particular for delivering outstanding performance during the global financial crisis.

“The income stream generated by our investments is essential to support our important work in education and research, and I thank Greg for the professionalism with which he has approached the management of our investment assets and the robustness of the investment portfolio he has built,” he said.

Easson credited Fernance with the diversification of the portfolio into unlisted and alternative assets – the fund’s property portfolio includes student housing and several commercial farms.

“It was Greg’s initiative and foresight that saw us develop the 650-bed Sydney University Village, which was the first student housing Public Private Partnership in Australia,” said Easson.

He also credited Fernance’s role in introducing an environmental, social and governance framework incorporating climate change considerations that has placed Sydney as a leader in ethical investing.

Fernance also listed his achievements in unitising the long-term and medium-term fund portfolios.

Other members of the University of Sydney investment team are Andrew Batsakis, associate director – external investments, Dr Jon Glass, investment consultant and Hon Lee, associate director Future Funds Investments.