NZ Super Fund interim boss steps up to permanent CEO

Matt Whineray, who has been with NZ Super since 2008, will take the helm of the $26.3 billion fund on 1 July.

Matt Whineray has been appointed the permanent chief executive of New Zealand Superannuation Fund, after serving in the role for three months on an interim basis.

Whineray stepped up to the role in March following the departure of Adrian Orr, who left  to become governor of the Bank of New Zealand.

He will start the role on 1 July 2018 and his appointment follows an extensive recruitment process.

Whineray joined the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the organisation that invests the NZ$38 billion ($26.3 billion; €22.6 billion) of assets held by NZ Super Fund, in May 2008 as general manager, private markets. In 2014, he became chief investment officer overseeing the investments group, responsible for NZ Super Fund’s portfolio construction and investment activity in listed and unlisted markets, both directly and through investment managers.

During this time, Whineray led the development of the fund’s climate change investment strategy, risk allocation process and risk budget framework, and helped strengthen the Guardians’ New Zealand and international direct investment capabilities.

Prior to 2014, Whineray was at Credit Suisse in Hong Kong where he was head of financial sponsor coverage for Asia – except Japan – and was also a managing director at First NZ Capital.

Guardians chairwoman Catherine Savage said in a statement: “Mr Whineray was the standout candidate among a high-quality field of international applicants. He has been instrumental in the Guardians’ successes over the past decade and is recognised globally as a leader in institutional investment. The board has the utmost confidence in his leadership ability, intelligence and integrity.”

NZ Super was established in 2003 by the New Zealand government to help pre-fund universal superannuation. The vehicle has returned 10 percent per annum (after costs and before NZ tax) since its inception, with active investment strategies adding NZ$7 billion to the fund in that time.

The fund had 5 percent of its total AUM allocated to private equity, with around 1 percent invested in expansion capital, or the provision of capital to small and fast-growing companies.

NZ Super has been focused on providing expansion capital, or the provision of capital to small and fast-growing companies, in the domestic market. Of the fund’s 5 percent private equity allocation, around 1 percent is invested in expansion capital, it said in its December 2017 whitepaper titled How We Invest. It has backed managers such as Pioneer Capital and Direct Capital, according to PEI data.