Investment manufacturing is occuring under a ‘National Australia Bank’ brand name for the first time in seven years, as the MLC fixed income team, the Capital/National Alliance and alternatives subsidiary Antares Capital Partners come together under the ‘nabInvest’ banner.

It is understood the roughly 20 investment professionals staffing these three internal businesses may eventually be granted equity, as NAB implements a plan (known internally as ‘Project George Street’) to adopt a full multi-affiliate funds management model. The first affiliate under the model is the former IAG Asset Management Australian equities team, in which nabInvest has purchased a 51 per cent stake for an undisclosed sum. The new chief executive of nabInvest, Garry Mulcahy (who’s just returned from a six year stint running various parts of NAB’s UK operations, including corporate strategy and wealth) said the six-member team, renamed Northward Capital, could move to majority ownership over time providing a range of performance hurdles were met. Mulcahy would not specify exactly how these hurdles related to investment performance or increases in FUM from the $1.3 billion the team’s bringing with it, saying only that “;if our clients do well, the hurdles will be met”;. Northward will be based in its own offices, separate to nabInvest. “;We can offer the team our expertise in terms of product development and access to market, but we are not interested in running any of our affiliate businesses – we’re an investor in them”; Mulcahy said. The chief executive of Northward, Darren Thompson, said he had spoken to all 10 clients and all were happy with the new ownership structure. Clients of the Australian equities process, which has grossed 166 per cent versus the ASX 300’s 126 per cent since its May 2004 inception, include Brisbane’s City Super and Sunsuper. Mulcahy promised Northward clients would experience no difference under the move from IAG to nabInvest/staff ownership, although the provision of middle-office services will shift from IAG to National Custodian Services. The other executives within nabInvest will be head of the $17 billion MLC fixed income portfolio, Ken Hyman, Capital/National Alliance’s Simon Blanchflower and Antares’ David MacGregor.

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