Salt Funds Management inaugural chief operating officer, Anthony Sowerby, has resigned ahead of a move to the Middle East.
Matthew Goodson, managing director of the almost $2 billion boutique funds firm, said Salt was well-advanced in finding a replacement for Sowerby.
“Anthony is leaving a couple of months to move with his family to Abu Dhabi,” Goodson said. “That gives us plenty of time to bed in his replacement.”
Sowerby joined Salt in 2013 when the Auckland-based funds management shop emerged from its previous existence as the in-house NZ equity team at Westpac/BT. As well as retaining a $700 million mandate with Westpac, Salt – headed by Goodson and co-founder, Paul Harrison – scored a major coup in 2015 after winning a similarly-sized contract from AMP Capital.
Salt picked up $690 million from AMP Capital, which shuttered its internal NZ active equities team late in 2014.
Goodson said Salt currently manages about $1.9 billion of “mostly wholesale” money but with a growing retail base.
“Anthony has been huge part of the growth of our business over the last five years,” he said. “He has done a fabulous job of building relationships with clients and managing our compliance and operations.”
The firm currently offers four investment strategies covering core NZ equities, Australasian listed property, a NZ dividend product and a long/short equities fund targeting NZ and Australian shares.
Goodson said the Salt Long Short Fund in particular has helped diversify the group’s client base beyond the cornerstone Westpac and AMP relationships. The now soft-closed fund sits at about $270 million.
He said Salt has a watching brief on whether to expand into other asset classes such as fixed income or offshore equities.
“As always in NZ, it’s about how you can achieve scale,” Goodson said.
However, he said Salt had “no intention” of tacking on an advice business.
“We will stick to our knitting and leave the financial advice to experts in that field,” Goodson said.
He said the Australian Royal Commission into financial services has focused attention on some of the drawbacks of vertically-integrated product and advice businesses.
“I think there will be a blow-torch put on vertical integration both in Australia and here following the Royal Commission,” Goodson said.