Blue Sky appoints former Hastings boss as chairman

Andrew Day, who led Hastings Funds Management for six years, will step into the role later this month.

Blue Sky Alternative Investments has appointed Andrew Day, former chief executive of Hastings Funds Management, as its new chairman. Day will take over the role on 26 November from outgoing chairman John Kain.

Kain announced the appointment at Blue Sky’s AGM in Brisbane today, alongside the appointment of Oaktree Capital managing director Byron Beath to the company’s board as a non-executive director.

The latter appointment is part of the terms of Oaktree’s A$50 million ($36.5 million; €32.1 million) convertible loan note agreement, which was approved by shareholders at the AGM.

In his AGM address, Kain said: “Andrew has deep experience of stewarding companies through disruption and transformation. He also has considerable skills in business strategy, financial oversight, risk management and compliance, which we look forward to utilising.

“His extensive background in private markets funds management at Hastings will be invaluable as he leads Blue Sky into its next chapter.”

Day led Hastings Funds Management from 2011 to 2017 where he oversaw significant growth in the business’s funds under management. The period was tumultuous, though, as owners Westpac failed to sell the business on two occasions before Day left in September 2017.

Subsequently, Hastings lost its mandates to manage The Infrastructure Fund and Utilities Trust of Australia, and with its North American and European business sold to Northill Capital in November 2017, the Hastings name quietly passed out of existence at the end of September this year.

Blue Sky said that appointments of a new chief executive, chief financial officer and chief risk officer would be announced by the incoming board by 31 December.

Interim chief executive Kim Morrison will give up the post and resume his job as managing director of the real assets business, which includes the firm’s agriculture and water investments, on a full-time basis.

Kain promised that Blue Sky would “look different” in future, with a “lower profile and a sustainable growth path”. The company was unable to provide guidance on full-year 2019 earnings, as Blue Sky usually does at its AGMs, due to the operational and personnel changes, he said.

Blue Sky’s share price closed at A$1.06, up 6 percent on the day. The shares were priced at A$11.40 before now-defunct US short-seller Glaucus issued a critical report in March, accusing Blue Sky of “wildly over-exaggerat[ing]” its fee-earning assets under management, by roughly 70 percent. Since then, the asset manager has opened up its books and other materials to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for review and is in the process of rebranding in an attempt to restore its reputation.