The 130/30 strategy run by quantitative Australian equities boutique Plato Investment Management has attracted more backers.

The active-extension strategy has found a place in the ING Investment Management (ING IM) $9 billion Optimix Wholesale Australian Shares portfolio, while also garnering an $11 million mandate from the Sisters of Mercy Staff Superannuation Scheme. A spokesperson for ING IM declined to comment on the size of the allocation to Plato. The chief executive officer of the Sisters of Mercy scheme, Chris Engelhardt, said the investment was the $400 million fund’s first allocation to a long/short fund. “It gives us more of an opportunity to take advantage of Plato’s stock-picking skills,” Engelhardt said. Emmanuel Calligeris, head of the portfolio solutions group at ING IM, was confident that Plato could control the risks entailed in short-selling, and that the factor and sector exposures it had would not exceed those of the broader Australian equities index. The managing director of Plato, Don Hamson, launched the first long/short strategy run within State Street while in his former role as head of active equities, Asia-Pacific, with State Street Global Advisors. The other managers in the OptiMix Australian shares portfolio are ING IM, Ausbil Dexia, Barclays Global Investors, Orion Asset Management and Tyndall, while 452 Capital was recently extracted. In late 2007, Plato’s 130/30 fund was seeded by Russell Investment Group when it was included in the Russell Australian Opportunities Fund and given a target weighting of 15 per cent. According to the Plato website, the fund aims to outperform the ASX200 by 5 per cent in five-year periods. Plato manages $370 million across its three funds: the 130/30, market neutral and core Australian shares vehicles.

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