Having relinquished his brief role as global head of fixed income for Janus Henderson Investors, Kumar Palghat has settled back into running the firm’s Australian fixed income operation, but is retaining some international business responsibilities for the merged group.
The co-founder of Kapstream, the fixed income boutique subsidiary of Janus prior to that company’s merger with Henderson, says he is spending about 60 per cent of his time on Kapstream and 40 per cent of his time trying to build the group’s fixed income business in Asia.
He also remains a key part of the firm’s global “leadership group”. “It’s just that I don’t have to wake up at 2.00am quite so often anymore,” he says.
Palghat agreed to become the global head of fixed income in October last year, prior to the merger, but then stepped back into his previous role in August this year.
“It just meant too much travel,” he said. “In hindsight, it probably was a mistake” he said. “And if I was going to step down from the role I thought I should do it sooner rather than later. We recruited Jim Cielinski, who comes from (Columbia) Threadneedle Investments and is very experienced. I think the role needed to be based in either London (Henderson) or Denver (Janus) and I was not prepared to relocate my family.”
Kumar launched arguably the most successful fixed income boutique in Australia’s history, in 2006, getting financial backing from Challenger International and then selling control to Janus Capital in mid-2015. Kapstream had A$8.7 billion under management at the time Janus bought its original 51 per cent. Janus and Henderson finalised what was billed as a true “merger of equals”, in May this year, formalising Kumar’s global role, although it had effectively already started by then.
Kumar was a pioneer in building alternative fixed income strategies in this region. His appointment as head of global fixed income for Janus Henderson was announced last year.
He said that another factor in his decision to step down was that the role involved managing people in multiple regions which took him away from his core passion of managing portfolios.
The head of Asia Pacific is the former Australian head of Henderson, Rob Adams, who said earlier this year that he expected business in the region to grow at a faster rate than the rest of the world.
The firm manages about US$53 billion across Pan-Asia, representing approximately 16 per cent of group assets.
Greg Bright is publisher of Investor Strategy News (Australia)