An Australian boutique manager focusing on companies exposed to ‘transformative’ global trends appears to have hit the mark with local investors, according to Mike Heath, general manager of direct fund platform, InvestNow.
Heath said the Morphic Asset Management ‘Global Opportunities Fund’ – co-founded by former Hunter Hall portfolio manager, Jack Lowenstein – achieved crowd-favourite status following its recent launch on InvestNow.
In a statement, he said interest in the Morphic fund had been high despite limited brand exposure in the NZ market.
“Morphic is a high-quality global equities manager with a well-established reputation in Australia,” Heath said. “But given the brand is less familiar to NZ retail investors we thought it would take some time to build interest here.
“We were wrong.”
The Morphic fund targets global stocks poised to benefit from wide-ranging macro trends as well as structural shifts driven by specific industry dynamics and technology.
Additionally, the ‘absolute return’ style fund can also short stocks or allocate to cash if it deems shares over-valued.
Heath said the positive take-up of Morphic in the InvestNow client base suggested NZ investors were open to reputable active managers with a point of difference.
“It’s all about giving investors the choice,” he said in the statement. “InvestNow is pleased that we can offer clients access to unique boutique managers like Morphic or NZ’s own Pathfinder and Elevation in addition to big name firms and low-cost, index-tracking favourites.”
Meanwhile, Heath said InvestNow had opened accounts for about 800 RaboDirect clients, representing about half of the maximum $120 million or so due to change platform next year.
InvestNow struck a deal with pioneering NZ direct fund platform in October to take over the client base after parent firm, Rabobank, refocused on its core rural banking services.
Under the arrangement, RaboDirect clients could choose to cash out or switch holdings to InvestNow. Heath said after setting up accounts for all former RaboDirect clients who wished to come across, the funds would formally enter the InvestNow system next March.
“But some [RaboDirect] clients are already building portfolios with us while they wait for their other assets to come across,” he said.
InvestNow currently offers almost 80 underlying funds offered by 15 firms with further manager additions unlikely for this year at least, Heath said.
“We’ve got a few more funds from existing providers to come on line but we probably won’t be adding any new managers soon,” he said. “We’re still talking to several potential new managers and will probably revisit the idea in the new year.”
Last week fellow Wellington-based fund platform, Sharesies, topped its product range with three Smartshares funds: the NZ Mid Cap, Emerging Markets, and Europe funds.
The three latest products join the six other Smartshares exchange-traded funds and two Pathfinder Asset Management sustainability-themed funds listed on Sharesies, which recently reported its approximately 8,000 members had invested some $5 million via the service.