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Fund Times: Updates for BlackRock, Colonial First State, Principal, Tribeca

Phillip Gray  |  04 Nov 2008Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  

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In recent news from the funds management industry you may have missed, BlackRock has made a number of changes to its domestic and world share funds, while Colonial First State, Principal, and Tribeca have added staff in domestic fixed interest, domestic property, and quantitative analysis respectively.


Changes to BlackRock Australian, world share funds
BlackRock has implemented several changes to its Australian and international share funds.

For the domestic share funds, the existing stock limits (40 companies for the Australian Share funds, and 80 for the Growth funds) have been removed. Stockpicking is now on the basis of what the shop calls "insight-based portfolio construction", whereby Mark Himpoo and his team invest opportunistically in perceived value-adding investment ideas, which BlackRock argues provides potential for improved performance by "expressing investment ideas more cleanly in the portfolio and allowing the flexibility to target research selectively on the most promising investment opportunities". Our qualitative research analysts are currently undertaking an updated assessment of BlackRock's Australian shares capability, which will include assessment of these changes.

The Growth domestic share funds have been rebranded 'Australian Share Plus', and the firm has also dropped its international share funds' 'Global Titans' moniker in favour of 'Global High Conviction'. We have updated relevant references in research reports and in the fund names on our database. Table 1 below shows the affected funds and their Morningstar Tickers.

Table 1: Renamed BlackRock Australian and International Share Funds

New Fund Name Previous Fund Name

 Morningstar Ticker

BlackRock Australian Share Plus BlackRock Growth 741
BlackRock Global High Conviction BlackRock International Share 449
BlackRock Global High Conviction Hedged Class A BlackRock Hedged Global Titans Class A 6939
BlackRock Global High Conviction Hedged Class C BlackRock Hedged Global Titans Class C 6943
BlackRock Global High Conviction Hedged Class D BlackRock Hedged Global Titans Class D 6947
BlackRock Global High Conviction Unhedged Class A BlackRock Global Titans Class A 6937
BlackRock Global High Conviction Unhedged Class C BlackRock Global Titans Class C 6941
BlackRock Global High Conviction Unhedged Class D BlackRock Global Titans Class D 6945
BlackRock Wholesale Australian Share Plus Class D BlackRock Australian Growth Share Class D 13193


Colonial First State hires in fixed interest
Colonial First State Investments has appointed Annette Mullen as a Senior Portfolio Manager in the firm's Fixed Interest and Credit team, reporting to Co-Head of Fixed Interest and Credit Tony Adams. Mullen will be responsible for Colonial First State's credit research as well as working with Warren Bird and Francois King managing the inflation-linked portfolios and on sector allocation.

Mullen worked previously at New South Wales Treasury Corporation, where she managed cash and fixed interest assets, was a member of the institution's investment and risk management committees, and was responsible for management of state debt issuance. Colonial First State Wholesale – Australian Bond, Colonial First State Wholesale Sovereign Australian Bond, and Colonial First State Wholesale Australian Inflation-Linked Bond are among the funds she'll help manage.


Principal adds to domestic property team
Principal Global Investors has appointed Dustin Bjustrom as a Portfolio Management Assistant for the firm's Australian listed property strategy. Working with Chris Lepherd and Benita Ong, Bjustrom will be responsible for portfolio analytics and monitoring, portfolio management reporting, and liaising with traders and the firm's operations and compliance teams. Bjustrom worked previously in the US as an acquisitions analyst at parent Principal Financial Group.

Principal's flagship vehicle, the A$76.68 million Principal Property Securities, was launched in April 2003. The fund was a third-quartile performer over the five years to 30 September 2008, returning 4.23 percent per annum (two percent below the S&P/ASX200 A-REIT Accumulation Index).


Tribeca appoints quant analyst
Finally in people news, Sydney boutique Tribeca Investment Partners has hired William Bertram as an Investment Analyst. Bertram will assist David Aylward and Sean Fenton with quantitative research and management of Tribeca Australian Equity Long Short and the firm's other funds. Before joining Tribeca, Bertram lectured in applied mathematics at the University of Sydney, after stints in portfolio management and developing trading strategies at failed Asian hedge fund Voyager Pan Asia and at Deutsche Bank.

In our most recent report on Tribeca's long/short strategy, published in June this year, we noted: "Fenton has a solid quantitative background, but he's the sole quant resource at the same time as having to manage a portfolio and research companies, too. So many moving parts to cover could prove difficult to handle during periods of uncertainty." Bertram's appointment is a sensible step towards resolving this issue.