May appointments herald structural change

Thursday 29th May 2014

Penny Pryor

Although there were plenty of appointments announced during the month of May, the emerging trend is one of structural change, rather than a growing industry.

Indeed there were only around 10 departures, of the over 50 announced appointments, with most of those being people leaving to join other organisations, like Andrew Kennedy departing Genesys to become the head of distribution at Energy Industries Super Scheme (EISS). The overwhelming majority of the departures did not represent the disappearance of roles.

S&P Dow Jones indices announced the appointment of Daphne van der Oord to head Australia and NZ operations, in an obvious push into the institutional space in Australia.

Speaking about the appointment and the growth of the team she’ll be working with, van der Oord said her appointment was “no accident”. The role itself is not new but “it’s got a new purpose, a renewed purpose,” according to van der Oord. She has a team of four, with two more to be added shortly.

At Tower’s Watson, Sonja Lee will leave her position as marketing director for an internal promotion to the organisation’s London-based Thinking Ahead Group in July. Dianne Cleary will fill her roll in the interim.

The Future Fund announced an interesting ESG appointment with Netherland-based Joel Posters to become the new head of environmental, social and governance risk management.

Posters will join the fund in August, but the appointment is interesting because it is a risk management position and reflects the current trend in the ESG space, which is to incorporate these factors into all investing decisions.

The Future Fund was one of the first larger super funds to divest tobacco companies in February last year and it is anticipated that Posters will be examining similar kinds of decisions in his new role.

“Joel will work alongside the investment team to support our management of ESG risks and opportunities as well as continuing to oversee the exercise of our ownership rights and engagement with investee entities in conjunction with our external investment managers,” Future Fund chief investment officer David Neal said in a statement announcing the appointment.

Equity Trustees is also undergoing big structural change, with four appointments announced during the month.

Lance Pupelis has been appointed as head of cash and fixed income and will report to chief investment officer George Bobouras and Amanda Noble will become head of risk and compliance. Two appointments to the wills and estate planning division have also been announced in response to that division’s growth.

“The capacity that these people bring with them is really augmenting a strong team,” Equity Trustees head of private wealth services, Geoff Rimmer, said.

“As the business has evolved, we’ve obviously recognized that Equity [Trustees] needs to grow organically and inorganically and I think the quality of the some of the resources that we have acquired over the last 12 months are really indicative of that.”

OneVue has also been busy with two new hires – Thomas Robertson as head of corporate services and governance and Philip Connell as head of business management – and also the acquisition of an SMSF administration business.

Executive level compliance positions – like those at OneVue and Equity Trustees – are a key sign that an organization has not only recognized its risk obligations but is also positioning for further growth.

Fixed income was also a theme in May, Franklin Templeton appointed two new people to create an Australian fixed income capability, and the Equity Trustees appointment of Pupelis is also to establish a capability there.

In the professional association space the Financial Planning Association (FPA) has created the role of general manager, membership growth and management, to be filled by Tom Reddacliff, to help grow the organisation's professional members.

And finally, the Self Managed Superannuation Fund Professional Association of Australia (SPAA) has boosted its executive team with the appointment of Richard Hockney as general manager, corporate development, and Joshua Geers as finance and corporate services manager.

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