HESTA has hired Steven Semczyszyn to build an in-house Australian equities team as part of a broader program that will see the $55 billion superannuation fund also internally manage cash and fixed interest strategies.

Named general manager of growth, Semczyszyn was the former chief investment officer of Australian equity fund manager JCP Investment Partners before it wound down last year after losing several key mandates. HESTA’s new Australian equities team is expected to be implemented by 2021, while plans for cash and fixed interest will get underway by 2022.

“These changes mark the start of an exciting new chapter for our investment team,” HESTA CIO Sonya Sawtell-Rickson said in statement.“Our forward strategy embraces a hybrid model – combining internal management alongside the best external asset management partners the world has to offer – to manage a growing and significant pool of assets.”

James Harman, who was promoted to the role of general manager for listed assets in 2015, will continue to oversee the remaining asset class exposures and will take on additional responsibilities as he transitions into a new role as general manager of investment corporate strategy.

Steven Semczyszyn

The appointments are part of a new investment leadership structure for HESTA that has also created a new head of portfolio management role and head of portfolio design position which the fund is still recruiting for. Spearheaded by Sawtell-Rickson, the investment overhaul is part of a broader review by Willis Towers Watson announced in 2017 that created an investment committee and an executive investment execution function.

“This is part of a broad-ranging and ambitious strategy to drive cost efficiencies and build capability to support the continued achievement of strong, long-term investment performance for our members,” Sawtell-Rickson said.

The new head of portfolio design will focus on portfolio construction and risk analysis, strategic tilting and economic and market research, while the head of portfolio management will lead internal and implemented teams across growth, unlisted and defensive market segments, HESTA said.

The super fund is also seeking to add to its new portfolio design team, and is also recruiting for a general manager – strategic tilting who will work closely with the investment execution team.

Sarah Jones is the deputy editor of Investment Magazine. She previously worked for Bloomberg News in London for more than 12 years covering equity markets and global asset management. Prior to moving to the UK, she worked for Australian Associated Press in Sydney covering economics and monetary policy.
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