QSuper chief investment officer Brad Holzberger has announced he will retire in 2019, as the Queensland fund kicks off a global search for his replacement.
Holzberger, who has overseen the fund’s $80 billion portfolio since 2009, made the announcement at QSuper’s annual investment update on Thursday, saying he planned to retire at the end of September next year.
“I am satisfied, because our work over that time has challenged and improved investment thinking and practice,” he said. “Still, much remains to be done to continuously improve and adapt to changes in investment markets around the world, which always offer new opportunities and threats. My contribution will come to an end next year, but I know QSuper will continue to improve and evolve.”
Holzberger was a director of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) from 2011 to 2017. He was also chair of ASFA’s economics and investment policy council.
Last year, he became one of only 30 Australians to hold an ASFA life membership for outstanding contribution to the Australian superannuation industry.
Qsuper chief executive Michael Pennisi called out Holzberger for being “one of the architects” of the fund’s groundbreaking Lifetime product.
“The segmented lifestyle investment option “at policy level, advanced the notion of fiduciary duty in default superannuation”, Pennisi said at the update.
Holzberger spoke to Investment Magazine in September about QSuper’s plans for the next iteration of the lifecycle superannuation product, with a long-term view to factoring in gender in the segmenting for the first time, along with members’ salary contribution rates and time to retirement.
“The product needs of a 60-year-old male vary starkly from that of a 25-year-old female, and the challenge of any default product – whether it is super, insurance or advice – is how to best meet both and everything in between,” he said at the time.
The Productivity Commission has controversially questioned whether lifecycle investments should be allowed as a MySuper default option, on the basis that there is a large downside in terms of forgone returns from de-risking too early.
But Rice Warner said in a recent analysis that, while aspects of the PC’s findings were correct, they “should not lead to a ban on lifecycle investments”.
During his tenure, Holzberger also built up the fund’s inhouse investment team and led the development of a global investment strategy.
“There is no overstating the role Brad played in QSuper becoming one of the largest, most-trusted funds in the country,” Pennisi said at the update. “More broadly, Brad’s knowledge and wisdom are often called on in industry and policy forums, and he has become a trusted adviser not only to our Investment committee and board, but also to regulators and policymakers across the country who want to improve the system for the benefit of all Australians.”