Westpac has added to its international investment capability with a new joint-venture Asia Pacific absolute return fund and the establishment of its wholly-owned private equity business, Hastings Funds Management, in the UK.

In July this year the Westspac-owned BT Funds Management will launch its new Asia Pacific equities business Voyager Funds Management – a joint venture between BT and investment experts Andrew Cormie and Leon Christianakis. In a statement sent to I&T News a BT spokesperson said Voyager has been developed over the last few months and its products will be open to both domestic and international investors. “It is a new, Australian-based specialist investment manager and will manage Asia Pacific equities targeting the emerging absolute return market,” the BT spokesperson said. Voyager’s first product is slated to be a Pan Asia equity market neutral fund. At the same time Hastings Funds Management has set up its UK headquarters in the London office of Westpac. David Ridley, a long-time senior Hastings executive, has moved from Melbourne to head the UK business and has been joined by another Australian-based manager from the company. Hastings has also hired an investment manager in London. According to a Westpac spokesperson, Hastings hopes to have up to eight employeess in the London office by the end of 2006. “In terms of our investments in the UK and Europe, we own 100 per cent of Mid Kent Water and have investments in Athens, Hamburg and Dusseldorf airports in partnership with Hochtief,” the spokesperson said. “We also have several high yield investments in UK and European companies.” BT has recently reshuffled its international equities manager, dumping Putnam Investments for another US firm, quant manager AQR Capital.

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