Pimco, Allianz Plan Hiring Spree in Sydney for New Joint Venture

Pacific Investment Management Co. and parent Allianz SE are ramping up hiring in Sydney for a new co-branded retirement income business in Australia.

The joint venture will see the creation of 50 new professional positions, ranging from technology to compliance, as part of a concerted push into the post-retirement market, Adrian Stewart, head of Pimco Australia and New Zealand, said in an interview. It’s quietly filled a number of the roles already and expects to appoint a chief executive officer shortly.

As Australia’s population ages, the pool of post-retirement assets is set to increase rapidly. Pimco reckons A$75 billion ($56 billion) of funds move from the accumulation to the spending phase each year. By 2032, the total post-retirement pool could hit A$1.3 trillion, consultant Mercer estimates.

The country is now home to the world’s fourth-biggest pot of pension savings, but the political and industry focus has been largely around how to build up assets — not how to convert them into an adequate income stream in retirement. Annuities options in particular are very limited.

“It is a significant commitment we are making to enter this market and it is a long-term commitment,” Stewart said. “We are really well positioned to partner with the large wealth managers, the advice businesses and the super funds,” he said, adding discussions were underway.

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The new business is launching at a time when the country’s financial industry is suffering an implosion of public trust. An inquiry into misconduct has uncovered a laundry-list of wrong-doing that’s shocked the public, cost senior executives their jobs and wiped billions off the market value of the nation’s biggest banks and wealth companies.

“In many ways the timing couldn’t be better,” Stewart said, pointing to Pimco’s status as an independent company with global standards. He declined to give specifics about the precise details of the products the new business will offer, though stressed they would combine the fund management expertise of Pimco with its parent company’s insurance credentials.