Equip revamps team: Appoints deputy CIO

Darren Rosario
Equipsuper - Deputy Chief Investment Officer
Date: 4 October 2022
Position: Deputy Chief Investment Officer
By Elizabeth Fry

Equipsuper has revamped its investment team by making three new hires and three senior promotions.

Darren Rosario has been appointed deputy investment chief, Libby Sparshatt elevated to head of asset management, and Stephen Austen will head up investment operations.

Rosario has worked at Equip for 18 years most recently as head of portfolio management.

He joined the fund back in 2000 from Macquarie Group where he was an advisor.

Meanwhile, Sparshatt joined the fund as head of public markets over a year ago from Catholic Super where she worked for 19 years.

Earlier, she did an eight-year stint at AMP Capital as a client services manager.

The third promotion was Austen joined Equipsuper a year ago as a senior unit pricing specialist.

Previously, he worked at National Austalia Bank.

Meantime, Jessie Pettigrew joins Equip as head of responsible Investments.

Pettigrew has more than ten years of experience in sustainability and responsible investment, most recently at BT Financial Group as head of ESG and sustainability.

Reflecting Equip's commitment to achieving 'net zero by 2050, she will work to ensure a continued emphasis on ESG integration across the entire portfolio.

The team is also adding considerable portfolio management expertise by recruiting Alister Wong as senior portfolio manager, defensive assets and alternatives and Manish Utreja as senior portfolio manager, real assets.

Wong's most recent role was head of investments for Australia Post's superannuation scheme.

For his part, Utreja joins from Insignia Financial where he was head of alternatives and a former member of the investment committee.

"We are thrilled to be able to attract the calibre of these seasoned investment professionals to the Equip team," said Equip chief investment officer Andrew Howard.

"Jessie, Alister and Manish hold considerable experience that will complement the skill sets of our current team."

Howard added: "In addition to these appointments, Equip is focused on providing opportunities, and supporting career development for our valued team members."

The investment chief said the new hires and promotions will ensure Equip can navigate an increasingly volatile market outlook and foster future growth.

"With Central Banks around the world determined to bring inflation under control, even at the expense of economic prosperity, we believe it's not a matter of if there will be a recession, but when," he argued.

"Investor sentiment continues to swing quite dramatically; markets hate uncertainty, and we have that in spades right now.

"At the forefront of our investment strategy is a strong focus on diversification," the investment chief explained.

"We believe asset allocation is the most valuable tool in our investment tool kit to effectively combat ongoing volatility in markets and ensure we deliver attractive risk-adjusted returns to our members.

"Importantly, market weakness also provides opportunities, and we will be prepared to take advantage of these as they arise, but the current market landscape calls for patience.

"Super funds need a team of investment professionals that can provide members with confidence that they are in safe hands. We believe our strengthened investment team can do just that.

Howard said being a patient investor will pay dividends in the long run."