In 2017, Cbus Super is poised to forge ahead with plans to build its internal investment team and expand its property business.
Executive manager investment management Trish Donohue and executive manager investment strategy Kristian Fok will lead this strategy. At the $35 billion industry fund for workers in the construction sector, the traditional chief investment officer role is split between the two executives.
Donohue and Fok are joint finalists for the title of Chief Investment Officer of the Year in the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards 2017.
Cbus is a finalist in the categories for Default Fund of the Year, Pension Fund of the Year and Large Fund of the Year (for funds with $10 billion or more in assets under management).
Throughout January, Investment Magazine will feature Q&As with all the finalists. Here, Donohue and Fok discuss recent challenges and what comes next.
IM: What was the biggest challenge you faced in 2016?
TD & KF: The biggest challenge was developing, and getting approval to start to implement, a new Cbus investment framework, which includes some insourcing of investment activities, an expansion of Cbus’s investment in the built environment, and enhanced portfolio design considerations.
In August, the Cbus board approved a plan to insource investment management for up to 20 per cent of the fund’s total assets.
What was your best call that paid off in 2016?
It’s not easy to highlight just one call; our teams strive to add value across a diverse range of investment activities. Asset allocation decisions, along with manager outperformance, have added value over the year.
Cbus’s strategy of investing in the built environment, particularly our direct property developments through Cbus Property and our long-term commitment to infrastructure, were particularly strong contributors over 2016.
What do you expect to be your biggest challenge in 2017?
The biggest challenge for 2017 will be implementing our new investment framework. We have had real success in hiring new talent to date and will aim to continue to do so this year. The related challenge is establishing the new infrastructure and internal ways of working to deliver our investment vision.
The winners of the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards 2017 will be unveiled at a black-tie event at the Ivy, Sydney, on March 9, supported by Vanguard and AIA Australia. You can purchase single tickets or tables for 10 by visiting the event website. The Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards proudly support The Wayside Chapel.