Karara Capital, the Melbourne funds manager which attracted David Slack back to full-time work and then poached the cream of Invesco’s Australian equities team, has made a flurry of recent hires as it heads for $1 billion in Australian equity FUM.

Helping take Karara’s team to 18 is Adrian Martuccio, who joined Ned Bell in managing Karara’s $240 million international equities portfolio. Martuccio had for the last five years been managing a private portfolio for a Melbourne family.

Meanwhile, Emma Campbell has joined Karara as head of distribution (from DWS Investments) and will spearhead a move into the retail space, starting with the launch of three unit trusts in large cap Aussie equities, small cap Aussie equities and international equities.

Two hires in operations – Rachael Muir as portfolio reporting manager and Sam Bates as operations officer – are aimed at helping Karara maintain its responsible entity status for the $2.2 billion locally sourced funds of USbased hedge fund and overlay manager, Bridgewater.

The Karara name was born last March when a new fivemember management team bought 54 per cent of what had been Bell Potter Asset Management, with Bell Group continuing to own the rest as well as provide IT and human resources services.

Karara managing partner David Slack was non-executive director of VFMC for four years after he left Portfolio Partners, the funds manager he co-founded in 1994 with current Credit Suisse Asset Management chief, Keith Ince.

Former Invesco large cap Australian equities managers Rohan Walsh and Luke Sinclair are also partners and run Karara’s style-neutral portfolio benchmarked to the ASX 300. Its FUM hit $930 million following Russell Investment Group awarding it 10 per cent of its Australian Share multimanager fund in December.

Karara’s other two partners are Ned Bell and head of operations Stuart Nixon. Meanwhile, Karara exited fixed interest management following LUCRF’s recent withdrawal of its last ($70 million) mandate in the asset class.

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