International equities boutique Five Oceans Asset Management has recruited a portfolio manager from Maple-Brown Abbott to operate across Asia-Pacific markets.

Robert Nunley recently joined Five Oceans as portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities, to work across the manager’s ‘world fund’ and the US dollar-denominated world fund, which was seeded by Citi in January. Christopher Selth, Five Oceans chief investment officer and lead portfolio manager, said: “A global boutique needs five or six senior people of diverse expertise in terms of sector or region but with a similar underlying investment philosophy. “I want the senior guys to come up with three-to-four good investment ideas each year.” Five Oceans previously gained exposure to Asia through mining stocks. But the recent correction in the Chinese equity market and the downtrodden state of the Japanese market present opportunities, Selth said. “The growth end of the market has corrected and the value end of the market is so cheap.” He said that local investors in Japan were pulling money out of the market, which could signal the bottom of the slide. The boutique had steadily built its team during the last two years from a core of ex-BT portfolio managers and analysts, Selth said. He hired Nunley to BT in an Asian equities role when the manager ran internal international markets teams. “In Australia, for a boutique, the talent that you want is not infinitely available…but you get chances to hire people at various points in their career,” Selth said. Nunley is the fourth portfolio manager appointed to Five Oceans. Each of these managers does not manage a discrete portfolio but generates investment ideas for the overall portfolio, which is overseen by Selth. “They are not portfolio managers in the classical sense. They are senior analysts working in a team, and the role acknowledges that they are becoming more senior. “I balance out the ideas.” Since its inception in November 2005, the Five Oceans World Fund delivered a net return of 1.30 per cent. In the last quarter it’s gross return was -5.61 per cent. In these same periods, the net benchmark return of the MSCI All Country World ex-Australia (unhedged in $A) was -0.91 per cent and -12.52 per cent respectively. Five Oceans now employs nine investment staff and manages $130 million.

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