Mercer loses equities specialist to Colonial

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(pictured: Richard Cahill)

Richard Cahill, an equities specialist at Mercer Investment Consulting, has left the firm and joined Colonial First State Global Asset Management. The loss of experienced asset consultants to both fund managers and super funds is a worrying industry trend.

Cahill has already joined the big fund manager as investment director within the ‘investment specialist’ team. He leads delivery of asset class expertise across listed equities, including Aussie equities, core, global listed property and Australian small caps. 

His departure follows that of Graeme Mather, the former head of investment and retirement consulting, who had been with Mercer for about 18 years, in both the UK and Australia. He went to Schroder in Sydney in July.

As previously reported, other recent losses of asset consultants this year include: Graeme Miller, the former head of investment consulting at Willis Towers Watson, who joined Telstra Super as CIO; and Ian Patrick, the former managing director of JANA Advisers, who joined Sunsuper as CIO. Joey Alcock, a 10-year veteran at Frontier, left to go to UK-based mandate search consultant bfinance.

Also, there have been several other asset consultants who have left to join either super funds or fund managers.

If the trend started in 2012, with the surprise move of Frontier’s deputy CIO Christian Fok to Cbus to head up investment strategy there, then other big name moves since then include:

  • Mike Wyrsch from Frontier to Vision Super
  • Aidan Geysen from JANA to Vanguard
  • James McKinlay from JANA to Wellington
  • James McSkimming to BT from Russell.
  • Felicity Walsh from Willis Towers Watson to K2 Advisors
  • Greg Clerk from JANA to Host Plus
  • Joshua Rout from JANA to Franklin Templeton
  • Michael O’Dea from JANA to Perpetual, and
  • Leigh Gavin from Frontier, after 14 years, to Legal Super, and
  • Rob Hogg from Frontier, after eight years, to Unisuper.

The asset consulting field is going through a difficult transitionary period because of the structural changes in the institutional industry, including investment insourcing by super funds.

Prior to Mercer, Cahill was an equities specialist at AMP for four years and, before that, a research analyst at ABN AMRO.

Clare Armstrong, a Melbourne-based Mercer principal who has specialised in equities at the firm from more than 18 years, is expected to adopt a wider brief following Cahill’s departure, at least in the short term. She says she is well supported by the rest of the consulting team.

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