First State Super CIO to join LeapFrog Investments

Richard Brandweiner, who worked on impact investing initiatives at First State Super, is leaving the fund this month to join social impact investor LeapFrog.

Richard Brandweiner, chief investment officer at Australian superannuation fund First State Super, will step down this month to join impact investing firm LeapFrog Investments, as the firm continues to boost its investment team ahead of its upcoming fundraising.

The fundraising for its third vehicle, LeapFrog Investments Fund III, was announced in January this year. That fund is expected to target $800 million and is slated to launch in the first quarter of 2017.

Brandweiner joined First State Super in April 2013 and was responsible for portfolio construction and diversification. Along with introducing new systems for risk management, Brandweiner worked with the New South Wales government on investments aimed at improving social welfare, such as increasing affordable housing in the state.

Brandweiner who is based in Sydney will join London-based LeapFrog’s Sydney team in January 2017.

“We are delighted that Richard Brandweiner is joining LeapFrog Investments,” Andy Kuper, founder & CEO of LeapFrog Investments said. “He is a highly respected industry leader, is recognised as one of the world’s top 100 CIOs, and currently oversees over $50 billion. Richard's move reveals the scale of the emerging consumer opportunity LeapFrog is tapping, as billions of people in Asia and Africa rise into the middle class.”

First State Super has appointed Damian Graham, chief investment officer of StatePlus, as acting CIO effective 22 August while it seeks a permanent replacement for Brandweiner. Graham was CIO of financial planning business StatePlus, which was acquired by First State Super for around A$1 billion ($763 million; €688 million) in May this year.

The superannuation fund, which manages pensions on behalf of its 756,000 members, is a custodian of about A$71 billion including A$50 billion in superannuation and $21 billion in retirement savings.

First State Super chief executive Michael Dwyer said the firm is keen to work with Brandweiner and the LeapFrog team to develop investment vehicles that will deliver financial and social outcomes on a global scale.

First State Super allocates about 17.6 percent of its assets to alternatives, comprised mainly of real estate and infrastructure assets. It has committed capital to investment manager Melbourne-based Vanguard Investments Australia, Sydney-based venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures, and Macquarie’s FSS Infrastructure Trust, according to PEI data.

In December 2015, First State Super partnered with fintech venture capital firm H2 Ventures to support Australian fintech start-ups. It said it would deploy A$250 million in technology innovation, following the Australian government’s innovation statement that lays down a more supportive and technology-driven environment for local entrepreneurs.

In October last year, the superannuation fund together with the National Australia Bank and Melbourne-based organisation Impact Investing Australia said it would set up a A$300 million social investment bank in the country.

Brandweiner will continue with the fund as an executive investment consultant until the end of 2016 to ensure transition.