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Mercer NZ confirms Sydney-based CIO


Interim Mercer NZ chief investment officer, Ronan McCabe, has been upgraded to permanent following a long recruitment process to replace, Philip Houghton-Brown.

The Sydney-based McCabe stepped into the breach last September when Houghton-Brown departed for the head of investment solutions role at BT Funds.

Post the official internal promotion, he continues to hold his previous duties as Mercer Pacific head of portfolio management while also garnering partner status in the business.

  • According to a release, McCabe retains duties for the group’s single-sector funds across the Pacific region “while taking on permanent responsibility for the New Zealand Investment team and all Mercer funds in New Zealand”.

    Kylie Willment, Australia-based Mercer Pacific CIO, said in the statement: “Having undertaken a rigorous recruitment process, it is clear to us that Ronan is the right person for the job. Ronan’s dual role will enable him to maintain a strong connection to the business on a regional and global level, and bring the best of Mercer to our clients in New Zealand.”

    Mercer NZ chief, Martin Lewington, said the new CIO had already “established a strong rapport with our clients and colleagues in New Zealand, and we’re delighted that he will join the New Zealand Leadership Team permanently”.

    McCabe said in the release that despite a “tumultuous year, particularly for our investments team in the region”, he was looking forward to “getting to know our [NZ] clients on a deeper level once my boots are on the ground in Auckland”.

    Prior to joining Mercer in Ireland early in 2019 (he moved to Australia with the company in March that year), McCabe spent over four years as senior investment manager with the Irish Strategic Investment Fund. Previously, he served with a couple of Dublin-based fund managers.

    Part of the US-listed Marsh & McLennan Companies, the multi-manager and investment consulting firm Mercer reported global assets under management of more than US$320 billion A$414 billion) at the end of September last year.

    Mercer NZ has about NZ$9 billion (A$8.4 billion) in funds under management, including more than NZ$2.3 billion in its KiwiSaver scheme. As one of the nine existing default KiwiSaver providers, Mercer is vying for reappointment in a selection process due to conclude late in March this year. Last year Mercer lowered fees and boosted responsible investment features of the KiwiSaver scheme ahead of the default review.

    – David Chaplin, Investment News NZ

    David Chaplin

    David Chaplin is a reputed financial services journalist and publisher of Investment News NZ.

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