Chris Cuffe is the founding director of Third Link Investment Managers Pty Limited, which has been appointed to invest and manage the investments of the Fund. He is also the portfolio manager within Third Link for the Fund.
Chris started his career in August 1980 with chartered accountants Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co, now KPMG.
In March 1985 he entered the funds management industry, joining Sydney Fund Managers Limited in the capacity of Company Secretary and Financial Controller and was also appointed a director in February 1986. Sydney Fund Managers was the Australian subsidiary of a UK based multinational funds management group – Edinburgh Fund Managers PLC. Sydney Fund Managers was responsible for the establishment, administration and maintenance of a number of listed investment companies, unlisted equity trusts and pooled superannuation trusts.
In August 1988 Chris joined the newly formed investment arm of State Bank NSW, First State Fund Managers, and in 1990 assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). During Chris’ tenure as CEO, he led Colonial First State Investments (as it was later renamed) from a small start-up operation to become Australia’s largest investment fund manager. When Chris left Colonial First State in early 2003, the company was valued in excess of $5 billion, managed nearly $70 billion of investment funds on behalf of around 500,000 investors and employed more than 1,000 staff.
Chris joined what is now known as Challenger Limited in early 2003 in the capacity of CEO. A period of intense restructure followed which saw the company recapitalised (via a merger) and refocused with a new management team. Following the completion of this ‘rebuild’ phase, Chris stepped down from the Group CEO role in August 2004 to become Chief Executive of Challenger’s wealth management business, a position he held until the end of June 2006. During Chris’ time at Challenger, the wealth management business was substantially rebuilt in terms of systems, products, processes and staff. It grew from around $3 billion of investment funds under management to over $12 billion during the period and firmly established itself as a significant industry competitor.
In September 2006 Chris joined Social Ventures Australia (SVA), an Australian-based not for profit organisation, to assist with its expansion. SVA invests in social change by helping increase the impact and sustainability of participants in the non-profit sector. He subsequently became Chairman and portfolio manager of SVA’s Future Trust, a position he held until March 2012.
In addition to being a director and portfolio manager of Third Link Growth Fund, Chris is now involved in a portfolio of activities including a number of directorships, managing public and private investments and in various roles assisting the non-profit sector. In particular, he is:
- Chairman of UniSuper, the $55 billion superannuation fund dedicated to people working in Australia’s higher education and research sector;
- Chairman of Fitzpatrick Private Wealth, a national advisory and wealth management firm;
- Non executive director of the listed investment companies Argo Investments Limited (ARG), Antipodes Global Investment Company Limited (APL) and Global Value Fund (GVF);
- Chairman and Founder of Australian Philanthropic Services (australianphilanthropicservices.com.au), a not for profit organisation which inspires, facilitates and educates Australia’s high net worth community and the professional advisers that support them, about effective philanthropy; and
- Director of Cuffelinks Pty Ltd, which produces a weekly newsletter called Cuffelinks (cuffelinks.com.au) which is directed to engaged investors and professionals in the financial services industry.
Chris served as a director of the Investment and Financial Services Association (now the Financial Services Council) and its predecessor for more than a decade, retiring from this position in early 2003.
Chris holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, Finance and Systems with merit from the University of New South Wales as well as a Diploma from the Securities Institute of Australia (now the Financial Services Institute of Australasia). He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia and a Fellow of the Institute of Company Directors.
Chris received the Australian Fund Manager’s RBS Hall of Fame Award in October 2007 for his contribution to the investment management industry.