Platypus Asset Management has replaced the senior analysts who exited the top-performing boutique in late 2007.

Prasad Patkar has joined as portfolio manager, replacing former senior analyst Philip Pepe, who has taken a senior analyst and portfolio manager role with Macquarie Funds Management’s high conviction team. Prior to his latest move, Patkar was chief investment officer at Audant Investments, managing equities, property and alternatives. Platypus has also filled the quantitative analyst position left open after Aakash Saha left the manager last year. Peter Brooke, formerly quantitative research manager at MIR Investment Management, has become senior quantitative analyst at the boutique. Platypus, a high-conviction Australian equities manager half-owned by Australian Unity, has returned 31.7 per cent for both one and three-year terms, and 30.6 per cent during a five-year period ending 31 December 2007. The $1.3 billion boutique holds a small cap discretion of zero to 50 per cent, and its current 20 per cent allocation to this sector is close to its historical low. Donald Williams, Platypus chief investment officer and co-founder, said the boutique favoured companies which did not carry extensive debt, were not heavily geared and were unaffected by troubles in credit markets. “We have a preference for companies exposed to the real economy, rather than the financial economy,” Williams said. This includes specific mining services and construction businesses, such as WorleyParsons and Leighton Group.

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