Kristian Fok is the Chief Investment Officer of Australia’s A46B ($35B USD) Construction & Building Industry Superannuation Fund, or CBUS. Prior to joining CBUS in 2012, Kristian spent 14 years consulting to Australian Super Funds at Frontier Advisors. Australia’s Superannuation program mandates that employers contribute 9.5% of its employee salaries into a Super Fund, which is owned by the employee, like a 401k in the U.S., and grows with investment returns until retirement. The employees, in turn, have a choice of providers to invest their savings. The model has been one of the most successful in the world in preparing the population for retirement.
Our conversation starts with Kristian’s path to the CIO seat at CBUS and focuses on the hybrid investment model blending internal and external management. We discuss the transition to internal management as assets scale, example of CBUS’ internal property company, economics of internal management, talent recruiting and retention, portfolio structure, external manager selection, people management, and investment with a long time-horizon.