New Zealand-based fund manager Brook Asset Management plans to open an Australian office before the end of the year.

Brook, which manages over $NZ1 billion (about $A860 million) of mainly institutional money in its home country, is seeking to extend its Australian client base as well as better service its New Zealand investors who typically allocate a substantial proportion of their portfolios to ASX-listed shares. The firm already provides an Australian equities model portfolio to the individually managed account (IMA) service run by its part-owner, Macquarie Bank. Mark Brighouse, Brook managing director, said the group obtained its Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) in February just prior to the launch of the Macquarie Private Portfolio Management (MPPM) Australian equities model. Brighouse said the success of Brook’s MPPM and the demand from New Zealand clients for a higher allocation to Australian equities have prompted the firm’s decision to open in Australia. “We’re committed to setting up and staffing an office in Australia to do research and portfolio management,” Brighouse said. He said many New Zealand clients now request a 50/50 split between local and Australian share investments – up from the typical 35 per cent allocation to Australian equities previously. “We want to manage Australian assets more efficiently for New Zealanders but the next step after that is to manage Australian assets for Australians,” Brighouse said. Brook, which is 49 per cent owned by Macquarie, is also close to launching a KiwiSaver product that will include an international equities component run by Edinburgh-based manager Walter Scott. Walter Scott is distributed to retail investors in Australia by Macquarie as part of its ‘Professional Series’.

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