HESTA today announced Michael Sommers has been appointed as the new General Manager Portfolio Construction & Risk, joining the Fund’s redefined investment leadership structure.
Chief Investment Officer (CIO) Sonya Sawtell-Rickson said the appointment will enhance the delivery of the $56-billion Fund’s investment strategy to keep delivering strong, long-term returns.
“Strengthening our portfolio construction and risk management is key to our overall investment strategy that aims to continue delivering competitive, long-term investment performance for our 870,000-plus members,” Ms Sawtell-Rickson said.
“With over 20 years’ experience in financial services, Michael has a proven track record in portfolio construction, derivative and alternatives strategies and risk management that will complement the skills and capabilities of our existing Investment team talent. I’m thrilled to welcome him to the team.”
Reporting to Head of Portfolio Design Stephanie Weston, who joined the Fund in June 2020, Mr Sommers will be responsible for managing the strategic asset allocation and risk budgeting process to ensure optimal risk-adjusted returns over the long term.
In March 2020, HESTA unveiled a new investment leadership team structure and plans to internalise some asset management functions. The internalisation program is scheduled to be implemented in Australian Equities in 2021 and be underway in cash and fixed interest asset classes in 2022.
“Our asset pool is growing, and Michael’s appointment will help us ensure HESTA continues to be well positioned as a leading global investor with a strong track record of performance,” Ms Sawtell-Rickson said.
Michael joined HESTA after seven years as Head of Alternatives and Derivatives at Frontier Advisors. He was responsible for leading a team covering research and specialist advice to clients on derivative strategies, alternative investments, risk management and portfolio construction.
Prior to Frontier Advisors, Michael worked in London as Executive Director at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), overseeing the market risk management of all London trading desks as well as the global FX options desk. He also had senior market and credit risk roles at HBOS Treasury and Lloyds.
“I’m excited to join HESTA and be part of an innovative, leading investment team that has strong growth plans,” Mr Sommers said.
“In the past year we’ve seen unique investment opportunities emerge so it’s a great time to focus on making sure our strategic asset allocation and risk management framework continues to be robust and responsive to market conditions, which will help us to keep making a real difference to our members’ retirement savings.”
Mr Sommers started today in his new role.