(Pictured: Peter Gunning)
Russell Investments, which has been on the back foot in the institutional market in Australia in recent years, has had a strong start to 2014, following completion of the arrangement with CSR over its outsourcing of the Harwood Superannuation Fund.
Harwood, Australia’s oldest super fund, dating back to 1890, has about $1.4 billion under management. It is a relatively complex fund involving several divisions. Russell will oversee investments and member services, while its own outsource partner, Link (AAS), will handle administration.
The Harwood fund becomes a plan within the successor fund, Russell Super Solutions Master Trust.
In its notice to members last month, Harwood said: “Harwood has worked with Russell for many years as Russell has invested the assets of the Harwood Superannuation Fund under an implemented consulting agreement since 2007. Prior to that Russell was the Fund’s asset consultant. Mr Keith Knapman of Russell has been the Harwood actuary since April 2005 and has also provided asset consulting advice to the Fund in recent years. He will play an important role for members and employers in the new fund.”
Peter Gunning, Russell’s chief executive, said Harwood was one of several new clients in the master trust. The firm had also won some implemented consulting clients too. New business this year totalled about $3 billion in funds under management.
Gunning, an Australian, was the global CIO of Russell, based in Seattle, before returning late last year to take up the CEO’s role following the retirement of Alan Schoenheimer.
Russell’s North American parent, Northwestern Mutual Life, is said to be close to finalizing a new owner for the firm following a tender process.
The latest news, dated April 23, according to Reuters is: “Private equity firms CVC Capital Partners Ltd and Silver Lake have teamed up to pursue Russell Investments, as have Warburg Pincus LLC and TPG Capital LP… They and CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) are considering bids for all of the Russell Investments assets.”