The departure of senior Australian equities analyst Richard Manyier from Capital Partners is just the latest move in what a Standard & Poor’s report has called a “game of musical chairs” among domestic share managers.

The S&P report said the “;game”; was becoming more frenetic as boutiques and increasingly lucrative remuneration packages tugged on the sleeves of rare talent. Within the universe of 38 Australian-equity managers rated by S&P, 34 senior staff departures have occurred over the course of year-to-date 2007, with 14 out of 38 – or 37 per cent – of rated fund managers experiencing turnover at the senior level. Marcus Hanel, S&P Australian equity sector head, said such a high turnover should be of concern to all equities-market participants, from retail shareholders to financial planners to chief investment officers. “In terms of direct impact on the portfolio, investors should be aware that changes at portfolio manager level and above can often impact future performance. When large numbers of senior staff depart, the largest activist positions in a fund are often wound down until a replacement is found. This means investors are paying active management fees for an extremely benchmark aware portfolio,” he said. In an attempt to retain quality staff, some funds such as BT have created partial listings – linking remuneration to performance – allowing some funds managers to operate more like boutiques within the larger managers.

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