BUSS(Q) has awarded a $50 million mandate to US growth manager T. Rowe Price, withdrawing the money from another growth manager which has had personnel problems.

The $1.6 billion industry fund withdrew the mandate from Nicholas Applegate, which is also a growth manager. BUSS(Q) chief executive, David O’Sullivan said the decision to appoint a new manager was driven by staff changes at Nicholas Applegate. He also said the strong weighting towards emerging markets that T. Rowe Price took was another determining factor. The fund, headed by Rob Gensler, returned -6.63 per cent for the year to January 31, 2008, while the MSCI All Country World index, which includes emerging markets, fell -11.48 per cent. It invests in 70 stocks from a universe of 4,000 through a bottom-up, fundamental approach. Almost one quarter of this portfolio covers emerging markets. One of its largest overweights in these economies is the wireless telecommunications industry, which is predominantly driven by demand within countries and is not heavily reliant on the US. To date, the fund has drawn $3.2 billion from Australian and New Zealand investors. Investors other than BUSS(Q) include: Unisuper, REST, CARE Super, VFMC and the retail market through the van Eyk Blueprint portfolio and various platforms, such as BT Wrap and Macquarie Wrap. In late 2007 T.Rowe Price added to its retail distribution team, appointing Darren Hall as head of third party distribution. Hall was made responsible for the manager’s business with Australian platforms and dealer groups, which include AMP Westpac’s financial planning arms, and Genesys Wealth Advisors. Hall was recruited from Credit Suisse, where he managed national key accounts across various asset classes. Murray Brewer, T. Rowe Price director, Australia and New Zealand, said the manager’s strategy was to “expand incrementally” upon a steady base.

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