(Pictured: Phil Gardner)
Philip Gardner, the Australian head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM), has retired from the company. He will leave this Friday, take a holiday and consider various options.
“I don’t have a plan,” he said last Friday. “I don’t even have a plan to make a plan.” He may stay within the industry, seeking some board positions, or take up a new career in a different industry.
A spokesperson said that no decision had as yet been made on a replacement for Gardner. He said that GSAM had a strong leadership team in place, built by Gardner, with several people at partner and managing director level in both distribution and manufacturing capable of taking on extra responsibilities.
Gardner said that he had spent 25 years in funds management – in Sydney, London and Singapore – starting with Macquarie, where he spent eight years specializing in fixed interest and currency, and then GSAM for a total of 17 years as both a portfolio manager, rising to co-head global fixed income in London, and then as a business head running Asia ex-Japan. Back in Australia, where he has been for the past eight of those years, he has been head of institutional sales, head of distribution and then, for the past two years, head of the business.
Gardner said that the two main areas of growth for GSAM in Australia in recent times, notwithstanding the interruption of the global financial crisis, had been Australian equities and the broad range of fixed interest strategies.
GSAM in Australia had been primarily a distributor of the firm’s international product before it entered a joint venture with J. B. Were Asset Management in September 2003 and then, in July 2011, transitioned to 100 per cent ownership of that business.
“The Australian equities business, under the leadership of Dion Hershan, head of Australian Equities, has done very well, with good performance and asset growth,” Gardner said.
The firm’s global fixed income capability was also very strong, with a broad range of strategies, which played to its strengths, especially in the alternative debt space. GSAM launched a new absolute-returns-style Global Strategic Bond Fund for the Australian retail market last November.