David BellAfter overseeing the redemption of $200 million to investors from the Colonial First State Global Asset Management (CFS GAM) hedge fund-of-fund (HFoF) business, David Bell, the former head of the division, has founded a boutique investment advisory that’s already got five clients.

In its second week of business, St Davids Road Advisory has undertaken a broad range of projects for the clients, who include super funds, hedge funds, traditional asset managers and corporations.

For an institutional investor client, Bell is helping in the development of alternative investment, risk management and due diligence programs, while some investment managers have sought his advice on investment strategy and entering the industry. Bell is also carrying out some corporate bookwork, such as currency hedging and managing debt. Much of this work is carried out from a home office.

Bell’s focus was not to build a large consultancy but to attract “good quality clients”, and work on defined projects for a fixed cost, rather than provide an open-ended service, he said.

“But, sometimes, if you implement one part of the project, clients ask you to do another.”

He has used contacts from his days as a HFoF manager to source clients. His ongoing role as lecturer of the hedge fund course in Macquarie University’s master of applied finance program has also helped in this regard.

Bell entered the industry in a risk management role at CFS, before working in the fixed income team and then as an assistant to then-chief investment officer John Pearce.

He joined the hedge fund division under Damien Hatfield and, upon the former head’s departure, became its leader in 2004.

In May 2008, CFS GAM announced it would close the funds because “they have not achieved the scale necessary to provide the best outcomes possible for investors,” the manager said in a statement. Led by the Wholesale Diversified Strategies Fund, the business held $200 million in assets under management.

Bell worked at CFS for 12 years. His new advisory is named after the Sydney street on which he lives.

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