FTSE Group, the LSE-owned global index provider, has appointed an executive director to head up Australia and New Zealand – Justin Walsh, who was most recently executive director and head of sales at rival MSCI Group.
Walsh has had a mix of research and sales roles over the past 15 years, including as an asset consultant with the former Towers Perrin, as head of research at Morningstar, and sales at Perpetual and SSgA, before he joined MSCI at the end of 2013.
The position of country director for Australia at FTSE has been vacant for just over two years, since former head Julie Andrews left to move into funds management sales at Vanguard. She is now an investor relations director at IFM Investors. In the meantime, Australia has effectively been run from the FTSE Hong Kong office during that time.
FTSE has concentrated on niche markets to try to crack Australia, where MSCI has a strong footprint with its international index series and Australian information is dominated by the ASX/S&P partnership. But, since it acquired Russell Indexes last year – and is in the process of selling Russell Investments – FTSE now has more scale and better international penetration, especially in the US.
FTSE launched a series of after-tax and dividend-imputation equity indices, followed last year by a series of bond and credit indices – both in conjunction with industry association ASFA. Early this year, FTSE launched the first Australian index based on the RAFI (Research Affiliates Fundamental Index) for a BetaShares ETF.
Walsh will be working with Sam Millar, product specialist, who is responsible for supporting FTSE’s client base through equity and fixed interest research and Mo El-Assaad, business development manager, who is responsible for the distribution and development of FTSE indices, as well as head of communications, Laura McCrackle.
FTSE hires, finally, an experienced hand as country head