NabInvest’s first incubated funds manager, Northward Capital, has done an analyst swap with the Colonial First State Global Asset Management (CFS GAM) Australian equities team, albeit unplanned.

Michael Bentley, formerly an analyst for CFS GAM’s core Australian share fund run by Martin Littler, has replaced one of Northward’s five portfolio managers, Alan Martin. Northward’s Martin left the $1.3 billion manager in February to take a position at CFS GAM’s Low Tracking Error Australian Share Fund. Martin had been with Northward for some years before the six-strong team left Insurance Australia Group Investment Management to form Northward with a 51 per cent ownership stake and business support from National Australia Bank’s nabInvest. The remaining 49 per cent is shared between Northward’s portfolio managers. According to Northward chief executive Darren Thompson, Martin had already voiced doubts about staying on as part of the nabInvest venture when the group moved, so his departure was not a surprise. “We knew he was looking before we went with nabInvest, so it was a strong possibility.” Thompson said he was pleased with Bentley’s hire as “his background is just what [they] were looking for”. “He’s had extensive industry experience over 12 years – significant resources experience and excellent fund investment experience.” Bentley – who has been at CFS for 12 years – has a specialisation in metals, mining and energy. Thompson said the attraction of being an owner in the business was a drawcard for Bentley, and the opportunity to implement his own ideas as a portfolio manager also played into his decision. Bentley joined the multi-portfolio management structure in March. He is one of the five portfolio managers who oversee an allocated sector and manage their own portfolio within the overall Northward portfolio. No further hires are expected. With Bentley, Northward has reached its “full complement”, Thompson said.

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