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NZ Super’s CEO to step down

After a successful 10 years at the helm of the sovereign wealth fund, Adrian Orr is returning to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, this time as governor.

NZ Super’s Adrian Orr will be leaving the sovereign wealth fund in March 2018 after a 10-year tenure as chief executive to assume the position of governor at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

“Over the last decade, Adrian’s strong leadership, commitment to responsible investment and exceptional communication skills have been instrumental to the success of the NZ Super Fund, which is acknowledged as a high-performing global leader,” said Catherine Savage, chair of the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the independent crown entity that manages the fund.

Orr returns to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, where he served as deputy governor from 2003 to 2007. He joined NZ Super just four years after the fund was created and shortly before the global financial crisis sent NZ Super’s returns to their lowest levels in 2009. Since then and over the course of Orr’s tenure, NZ Super’s value has steadily increased, achieving an annual return of 9.06 percent over the past decade and totaling NZ$37.2 billion ($25.9 billion; €22.0 billion) as of October 31. Over the past five years, it has returned 16.2 percent annually.According to the fund’s monthly performance report for October, since inception, the Guardians have added NZ$20.5 billion to the fund compared with the Treasury Bill return, one of two benchmarks NZ Super uses to measure performance. The Guardians’ active investment strategies, which include agriculture and timber, have added an estimated NZ$6.6 billion in value to the fund over the same period, compared with the fund’s second performance measure, the passive reference portfolio benchmark.

NZ Super first invested in agriculture in 2011. In the past six years it has grown that portfolio to 33 farms in New Zealand and Australia, with a total value of NZ$215 million, accounting for roughly one percent of its overall portfolio.

Its timber strategy began earlier in 2005. Since then, the fund’s timber portfolio, which includes assets in New Zealand, Australia, the US, South America and Asia, has grown in value to NZ$2 billion or 6 percent of the fund’s total value.

“The fund – meaning its people – has grown into a world-class investment institution, sitting among the most globally respected sovereign wealth funds,” said Orr, who has been chair of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds since 2013. “Our achievements have been a collective effort from the board through to every member of the team.”

NZ Super did not provide any details about efforts to find his successor. A spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.