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Australian Unity appoints Dr. Joe Fernandes as CIO

08 Sep 2020
Australian Unity’s Wealth & Capital Markets business has appointed Dr. Joe Fernandes as Chief Investment Officer.

Dr. Fernandes joins the 180-year-old mutual organisation with more than two decades of experience in senior investment leadership roles, including 17 years with Colonial First State, Colonial First State Global Asset Management and First State Investments, and a proven track record in investment stewardship and responsible investment programs.  Most recently he has held a number of independent advisory roles in superannuation and wealth management. 
He will report to Esther Kerr-Smith, who was appointed W&CM CEO in July this year following three years as Group Executive - Finance & Strategy.

Ms Kerr-Smith said that Dr. Fernandes’s leadership experience, which spans global investment, product and customer markets, would augment Australian Unity’s investment capability and serve its members, customers and partners during a period of heightened economic and social uncertainty. 

“Joe’s key priority will be the ongoing stewardship and development of Australian Unity’s investment activities.

This will include capturing investment opportunities that align with our strategic agenda as a provider of health, wealth and care products and services that both meet the wellbeing needs of our members and customers, and deliver community and social value.

Joe will also lead and guide Australian Unity’s Investments team which, along with our joint venture and investment partners Platypus Asset Management, Altius Asset Management and Acorn Capital, is responsible for funds under management and advice of more than $8 billion.”

Dr. Fernandes said: “I’m pleased to join a purposeful organisation at a critical time in its development, and I’m looking forward to working with Esther and the Australian Unity team to create value for members and customers.”

The stand-alone CIO position is new to the W&CM business and followed Ms Kerr-Smith’s decision to separate the role from the W&CM CEO’s responsibilities to enhance accountabilities and to create a more clearly delineated investment decision-making function.

Dr. Fernandes will commence with Australian Unity on 7 September 2020. 

Media enquiries

Media release (pdf)