(Pictured: David Neal (from aiCIO))
David Neal, the CIO of the Future Fund, is the second-most influential fiduciary investor in the world, according to a report by US publisher Asset International. And there are three other Australians in the global top 100 CIOs.
The other Australians are: John Pearce, of UniSuper, at number 31, Mark Delaney of AustralianSuper at 43, and Sam Sicilia, of HOSTPLUS, at 88. There are also two ‘honorary Australians’, in the tradition of Australians claiming as their own people who are either successful New Zealanders or otherwise spent time in Australia. They are Adrian Orr, CEO of NZ Super, at number eight, and Leo de Bever of Alberta Investment Management Corporation at number 18. de Bever was the CIO of VFMC between 2006-2008.
And, in the tradition of publishers, the methodology for selection to the top 100 list is arbitrary and non-transparent.
Of David Neal, the publisher says: “It is no coincidence that the Future Fund’s environment and the role of CIO are perfectly suited to Neal. To a great extent, he created both. Starting in 2006, Neal, who was then the head of investment consulting for Watson Wyatt (now Towers Watson), served as a lead advisor to the Australian government as it established a new sovereign wealth vehicle. He consulted on and guided core aspects of governance, mandate, investment philosophy, and implementation. These decisions had largely been made when Paul Costello, the fund’s former general manager, started looking for staff to carry them out. Costello had wanted to largely build and fund the organization before selecting its leader. He didn’t have to search very far…
“Around March of 2007, Paul started looking for a CIO,” says Neal. “I remember sitting across the table from the board, talking about where this fund could go, how it could be structured, and what a wonderful opportunity it was—a very clear and clean mandate. And I thought it would be fun to be on the other side of the table. So, I started talking to Paul about his thoughts on appointing me to the job…”
The number one most influential CIO is Henrik Gade Jepsen, of ATP Hillerod of Denmark, and number three is Chris Ailman, of CalSTRS of the US, who has led the US pension fund movement to divest investments in firearms manufacturing companies.
Click here for the full list.