Investment Committee

Nigel Allfrey

Investment Committee Member

Nigel has over 3 decades of experience as a professional investor in both the Australian and International Funds Management industry. Today Nigel is Principal of the Caana Group Family Office and sits on a number of private company boards.  In the early 2000’s he co-founded and was CEO of Impact Investing Pty Ltd, a Funds Management FinTech company, which having achieved global client success and recognition was acquired by BlackRock Inc (BLK:NYSE) circa 2010.  Prior to that he held senior portfolio management and analyst positions with leading fund management firms BlackRock and Bankers Trust.

Kate Howitt

Investment Committee Member

Kate Howitt has over 20 years’ experience as a professional investor. Having retired in 2022 from hands-on portfolio management, in 2023 Kate joined the Investment Committee of River Capital, a multi-asset boutique fund manager, and she continues as the chair of 9 Degrees Pty Ltd.

For four years Kate was included in the top 30 of Citywire’s quantitative ranking of the world’s female portfolio managers, out of ~1,700 managers. In 2015 Kate was named Money Management’s Women in Financial Services Investor of the Year and in 2016, Lonsec’s Rising Star.

From 2007 to 2022 Kate Howitt was a portfolio manager of Australian equities funds in Fidelity International. Previously Kate was an analyst / portfolio manager with AMP Capital, and a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group in Sydney. Kate received her Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and her Bachelor of Arts from St John’s College, the second-oldest liberal arts college in the USA. At Booth Kate was a recipient of the prestigious Dean’s Award for Distinction.

John Schaffer

Investment Committee Member

John Schaffer is a member of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation’s Investment Committee and an AIEF Ambassador. John graduated with degrees in commerce and law in 1979 at the University of New South Wales and his career has spanned tax consulting (Arthur Andersen, KPMG) corporate finance (Citibank) and financial research (Davey & Associates). In 1989, he co-founded asset consultancy Intech, which grew to become one of Australia’s leading institutional investment advisory consultancies. More recently, John founded Catallyst Advisors which provides institutional third-party marketing services.

Greg Cooper

Investment Committee Chair

Greg Cooper is a Director of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and Chair of AIEF’s Investment Committee. Greg is currently the Independent Non-Executive Director and the Chairman of Colonial First State Investments Limited and Avanteos Investments Limited (collectively CFS), and a Director of NSW Treasury Corporation, Perpetual Limited and a number of small technology and investment related firms. Until December 2018 he was Chief Executive Officer of Schroder Investment Management Australia Limited, a position he held since September 2006. Greg was also responsible for Schroders Institutional Business Globally.

Prior to joining Schroders in 2000 he was the Head of the actuarial and asset consulting practice for Towers Perrin in Asia, he has also worked in the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore. Greg commenced his investment career in 1992. He was a Board Member of the Financial Services Council for 10 years until December 2018 and its Chair for 3 years.

Rob Coombe

Investment Committee Member

Rob Coombe is a Director of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and a member of AIEF’s Investment Committee. Rob is currently Executive Chairman of Generation Development Group (“GDG”) an ASX listed financial services company which owns Generation Life, Ascalon Capital and operates a Pooled Development Fund licence. Rob is also Executive Chairman of superannuation business Colonial First State, Chairman of National Wealth Management Services Limited (NWMSL), the head company of the MLC Wealth (MLC) business and Chairman of Tibra Capital a privately owned global multi strategy hedge fund business.

In addition to the above Chairmanships, Rob is a main board Director of CIMB Group, one of the largest universal banks in the ASEAN region with operations in each of the 10 ASEAN countries. He Chairs CIMB’s Global Risk and Compliance Committee and is the Board’s sustainability sponsor and Chair. Rob is also a member of the Advisory Board of 5V Capital Investors, a leading Australian private equity manager focused on investing in established growth companies across a range of industries.

On top of Rob’s commercial interests, he is the Deputy Chairman of Surfing Australia. Between 2013 and 2019, Rob was firstly CEO (2013-2017) then Chairman of Craveable Brands, the largest Australian owned Quick Service Restaurant business. Rob’s tenure with this business was during its ownership by Archer Capital and culminated in a successful exit to PAG in August 2019. Before joining Craveable Brands, Rob was responsible for all of Westpac’s Retail, Business and Agri banking operations. Prior to this role, Rob spent 6 years as the CEO of BT Financial Group, responsible for all of Westpac’s funds management, financial planning, insurance, private banking, broking, platform and superannuation businesses in Australia.

In total, he has over 35 years’ corporate experience in both Australia and Asia, primarily in financial services. He has had extensive experience on the boards of both listed and private companies. In 2011 Rob was awarded the prestigious UTS Alumni of the Year for Excellence in recognition of his achievements in the business community and social sector.

Andrew Penfold AM

Investment Committee Member

Andrew is the Executive Director of AIEF and sits on the National Apology Foundation for Indigenous Australians (NAFIA) Board and in 2014 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the Indigenous community.

Andrew participated in the Indigenous Australia stream of the Australia 2020 Summit in Canberra in April 2008 and received a Leadership Award from the Prime Minister at the Australian Davos Connection in 2008. He was also one of the 2009 True Leaders in the annual Australian Financial Review Boss Magazine award, was a finalist for Australian of the Year in 2010 and was nominated by The Australian for its Australian of the Year award in 2012. In 2013 Andrew received the inaugural NSW Human Rights Award, assuming the role of NSW Human Rights Ambassador, and an Order of Merit from the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the highest award issued by the organisation. In the same year he received the 2013 Community Alumni Award and the 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence from the University of Technology, Sydney. As the winner of the 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, Andrew became a member of the UTS Luminaries, a select group of UTS graduates with a sustained record of outstanding achievements.

He is a former finance lawyer and investment banker with 20 years’ experience working in leading international firms in Sydney, London and Hong Kong. In 2004, Andrew left the business world and spent five years working on a fulltime but voluntary basis as Founder and Chairman of the St Joseph’s College Indigenous Fund and a range of other non-profit and charitable organisations before establishing AIEF in 2007.

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