AMP Capital Investors’ head of retail distribution has left to spearhead a hedge funds-of-fund group’s drive into the retail sector.

Andrew Keays left AMP Capital Investors on March 27 after three and a half years, and will assume the newly-created head of retail distribution role at Everest Babcock & Brown (EBB) from May 1. AMP Capital Investors national key accounts manager, Ben Harrop, will become acting head of retail distribution. EBB executive chairman, David Kent, said Keays would take a leading role in the development and marketing of the absolute return manager’s investment vehicles to the retail market. “Most of our distribution is aimed at high net-worth individuals and now we’re looking at retail,” Kent said. “Head of retail is a key position, and Andrew’s appointment is key. He will help us on products, distribution and [on] work with ratings houses. He has an extremely powerful network.” Kent refused to name the products that EBB was preparing to offer to the retail market. He said the products had not yet been rated and, in this regard, EBB’s primary focus was to develop vehicles that can compete with those offered by competitor HFA Holdings. “The main thing now is to develop the right, differentiating product.” Once launched, EBB’s foray into the retail market would be run “in parallel” with its activity in the wholesale space, Kent said. The absolute return manager has $2.3 billion in funds under management through one listed fund and 10 unlisted funds. A spokeswoman for AMP Capital Investors said the company was sourcing candidates to replace Keays from within and outside the company.

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