The vacancies in the Australian equities team at UBS Global Asset Management (UBS GAM) – which arose after former chief Paul Fiani took several colleagues to form a boutique – have been filled after the appointment of three analysts.

The most recent additions are: Shane Fitzgerald, who began yesterday as a financials analyst from JP Morgan, where he was a senior sell-side insurance analyst; Jeremy Bendeich, who joined earlier this month, crossing over from Colonial First State (where he once worked with Shields) to concentrate on small caps at UBS GAM; and Joh Snyman, who joined in November 2007 and has taken responsibility for the manager’s retail, transport and infrastructure exposures, joining from RCM Capital Management, a firm under the Allianz Global Investors umbrella. The team now has four portfolio managers with an average of 17 years experience, and seven analysts with an average of 15 years’ experience. No further additions to the team were necessary, Shields said. He said the UBS GAM Australian Share Fund (UBS ASF) had performed well in January, outperforming the ASX200 by 1.25 per cent, but had “pared back” this month due to weaker performances from the big banks and the fund’s exposure to larger mining stocks, which have not performed as well as smaller mining companies. Since Shields joined the manager, the UBS ASF has beaten the index by 2.4 per cent. However the manager lost some mandates after Fiani departed. In November 2007 the $38 billion NSW State Super redeemed $550 million mandates with both the UBS GAM ASF and an AMP enhanced indexed fund, distributing the capital to BT and Lazard’s core active Australian equities funds in $650 million and $450 million mandates respectively. The UBS GAM Australian equities division now holds roughly $9 billion. Meanwhile, UBS GAM Australian yesterday sold down its stake in Qantas from 7.05 per cent to 6.02 per cent, ahead of an expected profit downgrade from the carrier, a spokesman for the manager said. Paul Fiani and Balanced Equity Management’s Andrew Sisson last year blocked a proposed buyout of Qantas by a private equity-backed consortium, refusing to sell their holdings in the belief the would-be acquirers had undervalued the stock.

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