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Aware Super shakes up investment team with senior appointments

By Jessica Penny
3 minute read

The industry super fund has made two senior hires to accelerate its $250 billion FUM growth strategy.

Aware Super has announced two key appointments to its investment team, with Simon Warner joining as head of portfolio management and Justin Howell as chief operating officer, investments.

The duo, who will both commence in their roles in September, will report to Aware chief investment officer Damian Graham.

Mr Warner was previously part of AMP Capital’s leadership team as global head of markets, later crossing over to Macquarie Asset Management (MAM) after AMP Capital sold its equities and fixed income businesses to MAM.

As head of portfolio management, he will lead the development and delivery of the funds’ portfolio management across the public market equities, private equity, property, and infrastructure portfolios.

Meanwhile, Mr Howell joins Aware from Pendal Group, most recently as global chief operating officer, following a four-year stint as head of strategy and operations for Aware’s predecessor fund, First State Super.

As chief operating officer, investments, he will lead the establishment of the fund’s investment enablement teams to support its growth objectives, with a focus on strategy and business management activities such as business services, investment governance, and the fund’s direct asset management teams.

Commenting on the two appointments, Mr Graham said: “We are delighted to have attracted the calibre of these recent appointees who bring with them investment expertise to further fuel our growth ambitions and leadership experience which will help us furnish a world-class investment team.

“As an active, global institutional investor and super fund, we are well positioned to continue to deliver strong risk-adjusted returns and lower fees for our more than 1.1 million members.”

In its most recent performance reporting period, Aware delivered a 10.7 per cent return for its flagship default investment option, MySuper Lifecycle option.

According to Aware, the results come as the fund undergoes two major digital transformation projects.

The first is the recent consolidation of five legacy technology systems into a single administration and registry platform, while a second digital initiative seeks to create a data platform which will integrate projected increases across private and public market allocations.

“We have fantastic growth opportunities for our people and today’s announcement is further proof as to why we continue to be an employer of choice in the institutional investment landscape,” Mr Graham concluded.

Aware names business development lead

Aware Super has also announced that Natalie Jarvis will be joining the fund in September to head up its business development function.

Ms Jarvis joins Aware from Australian Unity, where she served as general manager of customer and product for three years. Her previous experience also includes leadership roles at BT, as head of corporate duper, and MLC, as director of the stronger super program.

“We’re excited to welcome Natalie to the Aware Super team, and we’re certain her extensive leadership experience in financial services will help us drive several of our key strategies forward,” commented Steve Travis, Aware’s group executive for member growth.

“In particular, Natalie will play a key role in helping us accelerate our drive to sign on more independent financial advisers to our network, ensuring we’re continuing to strengthen our offer as Australia’s most helpful super fund,” Mr Travis continued.

“Natalie will also be a vital relationship partner for many of our key employers, ensuring that we continue to enhance these relationships and evolve the fund to meet employers’ ever-changing needs.”