A former Russell Investment Group consultant has hung a shingle as an Asian equities multimanager and appointed his first analyst.

Ian Lundy has been assessing Asia ex-Japan equities managers since 2002, and after leaving Russell in 2005 spent 18 months consulting on the region and formulating his new boutique, Forte Investment Advisers. From a researched universe of 64 managers, Forte has selected four for the Forte Asia Trust, which received its licence with the help of responsible entity FundHost and began running a small amount of seed money on December 22, 2006. The trust has since returned 6 per cent against 1.9 per cent for its benchmark, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan in AUD. Forte’s four launch managers – all long-only high-conviction shops with what Lundy calls “;significant staff ownership”; – were arrived at after meetings with 55 firms, and as such Lundy is not yet comfortable revealing their names. “;There’s a significant amount of intellectual property in just knowing who these guys are,”; he said, adding that the blend had a “;realistic target”; of 4 per cent alpha annualised. Lundy has just appointed an analyst, John Besley, and like his underlying managers will offer equity to all his future investment staff. Lundy said Asia ex-Japan was a “;natural hedge”; for investors concentrated in the mature Australian economy – the region has 49 per cent of the world’s population, 28 per cent of its GDP but to date just 4 per cent of its market capitalisation.

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