The woman who prepared Australia’s first investment administration RFP has emerged from helping wind up Greg Perry’s QED Capital, to start her own consultancy for boutique funds managers and their potential clients.

Jenni Harding has established Harbridge Investment Partnerships to offer a range of services to start-up and boutique funds managers, as well as their potential clients and equity partners. Harding said most start-ups were founded by a couple of investment staff from a large investment house, where there had been teams of people performing compliance and risk management functions, running the business and managing the back and middle offices. “;Whilst their experience is generally limited to research, trade execution and portfolio management, they are now required to know all facets of an investment management business and the industry immediately,”; Harding said. Harbridge will aim to help start-ups overcome that knowledge gap, by offering to prepare strategy reviews (“;an area often overlooked or glossed over”;), source premises and fitout, gain an AFS licence, build compliance and business infrastructure, install investment systems and appoint service providers. For established boutiques, Harbridge can run strategy or systems reviews – as she has been doing for first client, Karara Capital – and will also offer a due diligence service for potential clients of boutiques, particularly to help super funds comply with APRA licensing. Harding was one of eight founders of Portfolio Partners in 1994, where she worked with Karara’s David Slack and, as client services head, wrote Australia’s first investment admin RFP and managed the subsequent outsourced relationship (initially with Westpac Custody). After stints at Viridis Energy and Jenkins Investment Management, in 2004 Harding became COO at QED Capital, the global long/short boutique founded by Greg Perry – known as ‘The Freak’ for his extended period of Australian equity outperformance at Colonial First State in the 1990s. Harding oversaw the return of funds to QED investors in February (the portfolio had made a well-timed retreat to 90 per cent cash by January) after Perry decided to retire from the professional funds management business.

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