Andrew Polson, the Frontier Advisors chief executive, announced at the firm’s annual client conference last week that it had recruited a director of sector research. It’s Paul Newfield, who was previously a senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson.
Polson is himself relatively new to Frontier, having joined in May last year after the move by Damian Moloney, the previous CEO, to London to join AustralianSuper, Frontier’s biggest client. Newfield starts at the end of July.
The position, focused on “driving innovation and client alignment” in the firm’s research program, is a new one, in terms of its singular focus, according to a Frontier news release after the conference announcement. At Willis Towers Watson, his previous role will be filled after the usual search process, according to a spokesperson. The senior hire at Frontier follows several others announced this month, including Paul Tulloch, Ian McMahon and Daniel Leslie.
When opening the conference, Polson pointed out that this was Frontier’s 25th anniversary year. The asset consultant, Australia’s second-largest after JANA Investment Advisers, was the only remaining “unconflicted” asset consulting firm, he said. By this he means it is the only one which doesn’t also sell investment “product”, such as implemented consulting or outsourced CIO services.
Polson said that performance figures for its 35 client funds – up from 25 two years ago – showed that they were, on average, top quartile with their investment performance over every time period: one, three, five, seven and 10 years. “Also, the dispersion of returns was very narrow, which is where we want it to be.