Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation appoints Jo Townsend as Chief Executive Officer

We are delighted to have partnered with the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation (the Crown entity that manages the NZ$70 billion New Zealand Superannuation Fund) on the appointment of Jo Townsend as Chief Executive Officer.

With significant projected Fund growth over the coming decade, the new CEO will play a pivotal role in defining and implementing the strategy to achieve the growth aspirations of the Guardians and put in place the structure and frameworks needed to position the Guardians to successfully deliver on its mandate for the future.

Jo Townsend is an experienced CEO with over thirty years of experience in the investment management and superannuation industries across private and government sectors in Australia.

From 2015-2023, as CEO Jo led the transformation of Funds SA – an institutional investor of public sector funds, which grew from AU$25.8 billion to AU$40 billion Funds Under Management during her tenure. She is a proven people leader with a track record of developing high-performing teams, attracting talent and building strong stakeholder relationships. At Funds SA, she expanded the team significantly, broadened the Fund’s investment capabilities across all asset classes, and repositioned and strengthened the brand of Funds SA. Jo has had almost 25 years of direct investment experience plus another eight years as CEO of Funds SA where she has had oversight of the investments team.

Prior to 2015, Jo held various roles at REST Industry Super, one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, including as General Manager, Investments and Acting Chief Operating Officer. Earlier in her career she held investment roles at NGS Super, Retirement Benefits Fund, Value Capital Management and Rothschild Australia Asset Management.

Jo has a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics and finance from the University of Technology Sydney, is a Certified Investment Management Analyst, and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is also an independent member of the Investment Advisory Committee of the Australian Olympic Foundation.

The Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation (Guardians) is an autonomous Crown entity entrusted with the management and investment of a significant pool of funds held by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. The Guardians’ purpose is “sustainable investments delivering strong returns for all New Zealanders”. The  Future withdrawals from the Fund will be used by the Crown to offset the increasing cost of universal superannuation in New Zealand. Last year the Fund, now worth over $70 billion, was ranked the world’s top-performing sovereign wealth fund based on 10-year returns by global state-owned investor think tank Global SWF.

The full announcement can be found here

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