Three big changes to VFMC management, including CIO

Dan Purves

By

30/09/2016

PASCOE_Justin-400x200

Three changes to management are underway at the Victorian Funds Management Corporation (VFMC) with its chief investment officer departing, chief financial officer becoming redundant and the creation of the new role of head of digital and technology.

Justin Pascoe has served as chief investment officer since 2008 and was described as being instrumental in shaping the enduring foundations that underpin VFMC.

“Justin put in place a range of key investment processes and controls to ensure we really have a robust and well-disciplined investment environment,” said Lisa Gray, chief executive of VFMC, adding that he was also responsible for the fund’s strategic asset allocation approach.

“He was key in us shifting from individual accounts to trust structures, which enabled us to be much more efficient and cost-effective in how we run our portfolios.

“And most notably he built a strong team of asset management professionals, many of who have been there for quite a period of time, which is why we are very pleased and grateful for the work he has done over the last eight years. We know that we will be able to continue in a very strong way going forward because there is such a strong team there.”

Pascoe has decided to step down so that he has more time to spend with his young family, but will remain with the fund for several months to help with an orderly transition.

Meanwhile, the role of chief financial officer, held by Marc Pizzichetta, is to become redundant following a strategy refresh. Gray said the current investment environment had caused the fund to re-examine its strategy to make sure it was well-positioned.

“One of the things that came out of that is this need to continue to build our capabilities in digital, data and analytics, to enable us to gain greater insight into investment positioning, what patterns are occurring in different economies or more micro-economies, and how that might impact the investment choices that we make.”

To this end, a new role of head of digital and technology will be created which will have responsibility for all of VFMC’s digital and technology functions. This changes the role of Pizzichetta, who in addition to leading the finance function also has responsibility for some technology areas. As a result, Pizzichetta will be leaving the organisation having led the finance team for the past 10 years.

Gray sees the new role as helping the fund build greater resilience in investment performance, as well as leading to greater insight into investment risk management across the whole portfolio.

“In this prolonged low return environment, we need to make sure we have the right risk exposure, that we understand those completely, and hence data and analytics will assist with that as well.”