Talent leakage – Griffiths leaves Willis Towers Watson

In the latest leakage of talent from a major asset consulting firm, Ben Griffiths, the head of Australian equity manager research at Willis Towers Watson, is leaving to go to a big fund.

The leakage of talent at Australia’s major consultants to super funds seems to be continuing unabated. With a particularly big job in the offing at HESTA – that of CIO – rumours abound about whether a senior consultant may soon fill that role too.

Griffiths, who has been at Willis Towers Watson and its predecessors since 2003, will take up a role at the $75 billion NSW Treasury Corp within the equities team headed up by Peter Laity. It is understood he will concentrate on international equities.

At Willis Towers Watson, Griffiths has also been involved in global, emerging market and smart beta equity manager research. He also engaged with the consulting firm’s global team to assist manager selection and asset allocation for Australian clients.

The investment team at T-Corp is being completely overhauled after a spill of key positions last year by the new chief executive, David Deverall. The most recent hire before Griffiths was that of Stewart Brentnall from ANZ last month, who effectively replaced Mark O’Brien as CIO.

Some other senior asset consultants to leave for roles at funds in the past year or so include Graham Miller, Willis Towers Watson’s former head of investments, who went to Telstra Super, and Ian Patrick, former managing director of JANA Advisers, who became CIO of Sunsuper. Frontier has also lost several consultants either to funds or other service providers, while Mercer last year lost its head of investment consulting, Graham Mather, to fund manager Schroder.