The $30 billion Equip Super has hired two portfolio managers in October to beef up its defensive assets and alternatives as well as real assets teams as part of a restructure of its investment team amid a heavy sell-off in public markets due to rising inflation and fears of further steep interest rate hikes.
Alister Wong has joined as senior portfolio manager, defensive assets and alternatives from Australia Post Superannuation Scheme where he was head of investments; and Manish Utreja has joined as senior portfolio manager, real assets. He was previous head of alternatives at Insignia Financial.
“These two roles are the result of a review of the investment team structure which determined what skill sets we required to complement our existing investment team,” said Andrew Howard, Equip Super’s chief investment officer.
Howard stressed that investors should not be reacting to short-term noise in markets. “As a long-term investor, Equip Super can afford to be patient and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. This is certainly the case when facing volatility like the market is currently experiencing.”
Howard said Equip Super was increasing its exposure to bonds as a defensive hedge, with bond yields rising in tandem with interest rates.
“For many years, with record low interest rates in place all around the world, bonds have not been an attractive investment with yields close to zero. But today we see bonds as offering true defensive characteristics again and have been increasing our exposure,” he said.
Equip Super has also brought Jessie Pettigrew on board to head up responsible investments from BT Financial Group. Pettigrew has over 10 years of experience in sustainability and responsible investment and was most recently head of ESG and sustainability at BT.
In addition to the new hires, the super fund has promoted Darren Rosario to deputy chief investment officer, Libby Sparshatt as head of asset management and Stephen Austen as head of investment operations.