Alan Beasley’s Ascend Asset Management has rejigged its product suite, including widening the brief for its former small resources fund.

The boutique manager, which is listed on the National Stock Exchange (formerly Newcastle Stock Exchange), will issue a new PDS for the Ascend MPS Resources Fund, which will now be able to invest up 35 per cent in leading resources stocks, 25 per cent in mid caps, 20 per cent in explorers and 20 per cent small caps. The underlying manager for the fund is Martin Place Securities (MPS), which is controlled by portfolio manager and broker Barry Dawes and David Sutton. The fund is also able to invest in pre-IPO stock, which is an area of specialty for MPS. It backed the recent float of Chinese silver miner Sinovus, for instance, which is in the Ascend fund’s portfolio. Beasley, the well-known funds manager who has previously headed up Massachusetts Financial Services and BNP Investment Management in Australia, launched Ascend last year after working with MPS for a period. The revamped resources fund, administered by Mainstream BPO, would move from monthly to daily unit pricing because of client demand, Beasley said. So far he has concentrated his marketing of the fund, as well as Ascend’s microcap fund, on the high net worth market but is slowly showcasing it to institutions as it builds a performance track record. The resources fund has returned 16 per cent in the six months since inception and the microcap fund, which has changed its name to the ‘Escalation Fund’, has returned 4 per cent in the same period. The Escalation Fund, which can also invest in pre-IPO stocks, focuses on growth companies, particularly those with an international focus. Beasley predicted that demand for Australia’s resources would continue to grow for a long time, largely given the massive planned expansion and modernisation taking place in China. “In China, there are 600 million people being urbanised over the next 20 years into about 100 different cities,” he said, adding that China was increasingly able to provide its own consumer demand as Western growth rates stalled. (The author owns shares in Ascend Asset Management.)

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