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Aware Super goes abroad for new public equities head

The $160 billion industry fund has found a new head for its $90 billion public equities portfolio in an alumnus of passive investing giants like Vanguard and BlackRock. It's also pulled the trigger on promotions in the public equities team.

Agnes Hong will lead the development of Aware’s public market equities capabilities across systematic, managed and direct equities, as well as the development of the fund’s 2030 strategy to build upon its existing internal equities capabilities. Aware head of portfolio management Simon Warner said that Hong’s appointment will play a “key role” in the fund’s growth to $250 billion FUM.

“Having someone with Agnes’ calibre, skills and global experience to lead the evolution of our public market equities strategies across internally and externally managed, systematic and fundamental strategies, will set a new benchmark for how Australian super funds can extract value from this sector,” he said.

“This new role is also sending a signal to market that we are evolving and deepening our strategic engagements with corporates, brokers and advisers to become their preferred partner as companies increasingly seek capital and undertake transactions to deliver sustainable and appropriate returns to shareholders.”

  • Hong will relocate from Philadelphia to take up the role, and will report to Warner. She previously held portfolio management roles at passive investing giants like BlackRock and Vanguard, and was “instrumental” in the launch of Charles Schwab’s ETF business, helping to grow its assets to $120 billion during her tenure as managing director and head of portfolio management.  

    ”I’m excited to be relocating back to Australia to join one of the nation’s leading super funds with an impressive returns track record and a leading responsible investment focus,” Hong said. “Aware Super is celebrated in market as not only being purpose-led, innovative and agile, but offering exciting career development opportunities, and it’s for these reasons that I’m looking forward to contributing and leading the evolution of the fund’s public market equities strategy.

    “Having lived and worked overseas, I also have a deep appreciation of the value Australia’s superannuation system plays in the retirement futures of all Australians, and I’m energised to play a key role in generating a strong retirement income pipeline for Aware Super’s 1.1 million members.”

    The appointment also “signals a strengthening” of Aware’s public market equities team, with Murray Keir promoted to senior portfolio manager for systematic equities, Alvin Chan confirmed as portfolio manager for direct equities, and Bruce Low promoted to portfolio manager.

    Lachlan Maddock

    Lachlan is editor of Investor Strategy News and has extensive experience covering institutional investment.

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