legalsuper has appointed Paul Kessell as interim chief investment officer following the departure of Edward Smith in September.

The $4.1 billion industry fund has hired Kaizen Recruitment to find a permanent replacement. Andrew Proebstl, the chief executive of legalsuper, has not ruled out Kessel taking the top investment job after “a thorough search” is conducted.

Kessell, a former investment head at Kinetic Super, has more than 20 years investment experience at both retail and profit-to-member funds. He spent 10 years at Kinetic prior to its merger with Sunsuper in 2018.  He also managed investments at the London Pensions Fund Authority for the three years to 2007 and did a five-year stint at ESSSuper in the 1990s.

“We are pleased to welcome Paul as interim lead of our internal investment team,” said Proebstl. “Paul is experienced and very well credentialled to make a strong contribution acting in the role while we undertake our search.”

legalsuper has recently made several structural changes to its investment approach, including converting all Australian share investments from pooled funds to direct mandates. They’ve also allocated $280 million to Magellan, Wellington and BlueBay investment firms and increased allocations to alternative assets via Barwon Healthcare Property Fund, Lighthouse Infrastructure Fund and Ancala, a European alternative energy infrastructure manager.

Smith spent more than four years with the fund.

Elizabeth Fry has been a financial journalist for more than 25 years and has written for a number of publications, including CFO, The Financial Times and The Australian Financial Review.
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