Australian equities boutique Platypus Asset Management has suffered a rare bout of personnel disruption, losing a senior analyst and its quant analyst in the past two months.

Senior analyst Philip Pepe has departed after about 18 months with the funds manager. The 11-year market veteran said he would start at another funds manager within a month, while Platypus founder/executive director Donald Williams said he was searching to replace Pepe. Both Williams and Pepe said they were unable to comment on the circumstances of the departure. The manager of $1.5 billion has also lost its quant analyst, Aakash Saha, to a sell-side analyst role at Deutsche Bank. “;If Aakash had wanted to stay on the buy-side, he would have stayed at Platypus but he wanted a new challenge,”; Williams said, adding that a replacement quant had been hired and would start soon. Jason Sedawie bolstered Platypus’ team in May, joining as an assistant research analyst from an accounting role at KPMG. Platypus, which is half-owned by Australian Unity, approved its inaugural employee share option plan in June. The manager has rarely strayed from the top of the performance surveys. Its 30.4 per cent net return for the five years to September 30 would place it at number 1 on the Mercer Long Only Australian Equities performance survey – the returns on which appear in gross form. It has a small cap discretion of up to 50 per cent. Williams said the manager’s small cap exposure dipped to its lowest level ever this year (below 20 per cent) but had recently risen back above 30 per cent as it picked up mining services stocks.

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