Two former Colonial First State (CFS) senior portfolio managers, who left late last year, are set to resurface by March as joint owners of a new Australian small cap boutique fund.

Anthony Vourdanos confirmed that he and Tom Plodr, both former managers of the CFS Wholesale Small Companies Core Fund, were in the process of setting up a Sydney-based boutique they expected to open in a couple of months. The departures of Vourdanos and Plodr within a few weeks of each other prompted Standard & Poors to place their top-quartile fund on ‘hold’ last September. In the five years to the end of September 2007, the CFS Wholesale Small Companies Core Fund had returned 34.5 per cent (against 25.7 per cent for the ASX Small Ordinaries), beaten only by Macquarie’s Small Companies Fund on 38.3 per cent. The new shop will manage small cap Australian equities exclusively, with Vourdanos and Plodr to share joint responsibility for the investment process. Vourdanos also confirmed the venture was without institutional backing, but declined to provide any further details on its ownership structure. The new manager is unnamed at this point, but it is understood to be currently going through the licensing process. Immediately upon the departure of Vourdanos and Plodr, CFS put Australian equity team veteran Peter McGann in charge of small caps, joined since by Dawn Kanelleas from Aberdeen Asset Management and junior analyst Michael Joukhador.

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