Australia hands reins back to AMP Capital NZ

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(pictured: Grant Hassell)

AMP Capital NZ chief, Grant Hassell, will take on more control of the local investment and distribution teams under changes announced last week. But he will relinquish some of his fixed income duties.

Following the organisational revamp, all NZ investment groups, except property and distribution, will now report directly to Hassell. Previously, some AMP Capital NZ business units – including multi-asset and distribution – reported to their respective Australian heads with only a ‘dotted line’ back to the NZ managing director.

“I’ve been keen to get the NZ business pointed back to the NZ managing director,” he said, with the changes giving the local business more control over a number of areas such as “resourcing”.

In a statement, Hassell said the new operating model “will ensure that we can be more focused on the outcomes for our New Zealand clients and for the New Zealand business”.

“At the same time, the investment teams will still be fully aligned with their Australian counterparts to allow us to continue leveraging the skills of the broader global business,” he said.

The rearrangement will also see Vicky Hyde-Smith promoted from senior portfolio manager to fixed income co-head alongside Hassell.

Hassell said Hyde-Smith, who joined AMP Capital NZ in 2001, would take over some of his previous direct reports within the fixed income team.

“With Vicky taking over reporting within the fixed income team that frees me up to spend more time on the management side of the business,” he said. “But I will still be involved in setting the [fixed income] strategy and risk management.”

Before joining AMP Capital in 2001 as a fixed income analyst, Hyde-Smith worked on the Japanese bond desk for Sumitomo Finance in London

“After working with Vicky closely during the last 15 years, her appointment is well deserved and represents a positive step towards ensuring the New Zealand Fixed Income team continues to deliver a strong performance for our clients,” Hassell said in the statement.

He said the managerial revamp represented a positive step for the NZ business, which has been through a major overhaul over the last 18 months.

A steady stream of long-time AMP Capital executives have left the business since 2014 with the exit of multi-asset chief, Peter Verhaart, this April almost marking the end of the process.

Keith Poore, head of investment strategy, who resigned shortly after Verhaart’s departure, will leave the business at the end of this month

Hassell said the search for Poore’s replacement attracted strong interest both domestically and offshore with a short-list of candidates now completed.

“We should have an appointment confirmed within the next four to six weeks,” he said.

AMP Capital is New Zealand’s second-largest fund manager (excluding Crown Financial Institutions) with about $19.5 billion under management.

– David Chaplin, Investment News NZ

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