GQG Partners, the US-based global equities boutique backed by Australian incubator Pacific Current Group, is setting up its own office in Australia, following the recruitment of Laird Abernethy as managing director for Australia and New Zealand.
GQG has been a run-away success for funds flow, both in the US and Australia, since its establishment by Rajiv Jain, the chairman, in June, 2016. He was the star chief portfolio manager at Vontobel Asset Management prior to setting up on his own at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
About A$2.7 billion of its US$15.8 billion under management is for 20 Australian and NZ clients. Its two main strategies are global equities and emerging markets, both of which have Australian-domiciled vehicles overseen by Pacific Current (the former Treasury Group) and Equity Trustees, the responsible entity.
Sydney will be its fourth office – the others outside of Florida are in Seattle and New York – and first outside of the US.
Pacific Current remains a shareholder in GQG and is sanguine about its position. It’s a sign of success for third-party marketers when their associates get the funds under management to pay for their own offices.
Stephen Bramley of Pacific Current, who has been the main driver of GQG’s fund-raising efforts in the region, said: “Over time it will mean that Laird will be the point of contact for GQG Partners. We will be doing an orderly handover during the next six months.
“The internalising of the Australian role that I have performed since the inception of GQG is really due to the success of the Australian/NZ business. We have built a nice business for GQG with around $2.7bn of AUM and more than 20 clients, which has allowed them to resource things going forward. GQG’s NZ clients include AMP Capital, which awarded the manager a $160 million international equities mandate this April after dropping Vontobel from its multi-manager global shares fund. The manager also offers the GQG strategy as a stand-alone portfolio investment entity (PIE) fund.
“This was always on the cards at some point, but really depended on the growth of GQG which has been stellar globally and here in Australia. This is not unusual when it comes to the Pacific Current model whereby we try and grow sustainable boutique businesses and often they internalise client service and sales functions in time.”
Abernethy joins GQG from Colonial First State, where he was head of sales. He had previously worked at Russell Investments and BT Financial Group.
GQG prides itself on its research, which tends to look outside the box, with the use of investigative journalists and forensic accountants to augment the work of the traditional analysts.
Greg Bright is publisher of Investor Strategy News (Australia)