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Fund Times: Updates for Ausbil, Australian Ethical, Equity Trustees, ING, Macquarie, Schroders

Phillip Gray  |  08 Aug 2008Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  

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In recent news from the funds management industry you may have missed, Ausbil Dexia has appointed a senior Australian equities analyst, and Australian Ethical a replacement chief investment officer. Equity Trustees has replaced Lehman Brothers as investment manager for its High Income funds. ING has made several additions to the team running its global property funds; Macquarie small-caps co-portfolio manager John Bugg has relocated to Hong Kong to start up an Asian small-caps strategy; and Schroders has added to its global quantitative equities team.


Ausbil appoints senior Australian equities analyst
Ausbil Dexia has appointed Tony Waters as a senior Australian equities analyst, contributing to the management of funds including Ausbil – Australian Emerging Leaders and Ausbil – Australian Active Equity. Waters, who will join the firm in October after a brief stint at Investors Mutual, will be responsible for sectors including small-cap resources, telecommunications, and hotels, restaurants and leisure. Waters' background also includes a lengthy period at stockbroker CCZ Equities. Ausbil has also reshuffled a number of its analysts' research responsibilities.


New Chief Investment Officer for Australian Ethical
Canberra-based ethical investing specialist Australian Ethical has hired Martin Halloran as Chief Investment Officer, replacing David Ferris, who left the position in March this year. Halloran was previously Managing Director, Global Markets at National Australia Bank's institutional funds management business nabCapital, and worked previously for the Commonwealth Bank, leading teams responsible for the development of new investment and risk management products.

Halloran will encounter a mixed legacy. Australian Ethical – Equities, which contains both domestic and offshore exposures, has been showing some signs of improvement, although Australian Ethical Large Companies Share continues to wallow. In our most recent research report, we commented that the valuation discipline for Australian Ethical's management of shares lacked rigour, and that the levels of insight were not as high as we would have expected. Elsewhere, Halloran will need to get to grips with the firm's brave attempt at running an international shares fund from Australia, the year-old Australian Ethical – World. He'll also need to work at turning around the fortunes of the A$192.40 million Australian Ethical – Balanced, which has been a consistently fourth-quartile performer in the Multi-Sector Balanced category over the last six months, one, and three years.


Equity Trustees hires TechInvest to wind up High Income funds
Equity Trustees has appointed TechInvest to manage the winding up of EQT High Income and EQT Wholesale High Income. The announcement of their termination in May followed Lehman Brothers' decision to withdraw from offering investment management services in Australia. (The 'Lehman' moniker has been dropped from the funds' names now, too.) TechInvest has in turn hired Sydney fixed interest specialist Spectrum Asset Management, which offers Spectrum Wholesale Enhanced Income, to realise the funds' holdings. Equity Trustees has stated that it remains its intention to make quarterly income distributions as well as quarterly returns of capital, which will depend on the progressive realisation of the assets and the income they generate in the meantime.


New faces at ING Global Real Estate team
ING Clarion Real Estate Securities, the ING group's global property funds management business, has added two more staff, Hong Kong-based investment analyst Erik Lang, and Jonathan Brailey, a trader based in London. Lang worked most recently with LaSalle Investment Management, where he researched and analysed Australian and Canadian property stocks, while Brailey was employed by trading firms NYFIX International and ITG Europe. They will contribute to the management of ING global property funds offered in Australia, which include ING Wholesale Global Property Securities and ING OneAnswer Investment Portfolio ING Global Property Securities.


Macquarie Small-Caps co-PM heads for Honkers
Macquarie Funds Management's Co-Head of Smaller Companies, John Bugg, is relocating to Hong Kong to lay the groundwork for a new Asian smaller companies capability which will apply the same investment philosophy as used in local small-cap stockpicking. Bugg will continue with research responsibilities for Macquarie's Australian smaller companies assets with Neil Carter, along with Portfolio Manager David Walsh and Analysts Krista Walter and Matthew Griffin. Macquarie has also hired MMC and Paradice alumnus Sam Le Cornu to work alongside Bugg in Hong Kong.

Macquarie's smaller companies funds – which include Macquarie – Small Companies and Macquarie Australian Small Companies – currently have a Morningstar Recommendation of 'Recommended'. The flagship wholesale fund – a red-hot performer in recent years – has come off the boil more recently, underperforming the index by 15.0 percent over the 2007/08 financial year. (In our most recent research report, published in April this year, we noted that the strategy's "short-term volatility can be stomach-churning for many investors".)


Schroders adds to global quant equity team
Finally, Schroders has appointed Richard Lawson as a Fund Manager and Analyst to its global quantitative equities team, responsible for managing funds such as Schroder Global Active Value. Lawson's background includes quantitative roles at JP Morgan, Macquarie, Ord Minnett, and Perpetual in Australia, and at Prebon Marshall Yemane in London. He reports to David Philpotts, who heads the Australian arm of the firm's Quantitative Equities team.