The former head of the Australian office for Pioneer Investments, the former head of institutional business for Russell Investments, and two former Westpac executives have formed a third-party marketing business, with a well-known UK manager as its initial client.
Neil Wild, Pioneer’s rep here until it withdrew last year, has formed Plus Capital together with Michael Dorph, former head of equities derivatives at Westpac, Tim Baker, former head of risk at Westpac, and Stephen Roberts, former head of institutional business at Russell Investments and current non-executive director at van Eyk.
The firm’s first manager is Hermes BPK, a new subsidiary of the famous Hermes Group, which manages investments for the BT (British Telecom) pension plans as well as external clients. Hermes BPK is owned jointly by senior management and Hermes.
Plus Capital has set up Australian-domiciled unregistered managed investment schemes for two Hermes BPK funds – the ‘first’ fund and a restructuring fund. Plus Capital will not take administration fees from the vehicles, but will rather be incentivised by the manager.
Mark Barker, Hermes BPK partner, said in Sydney last week that the restructuring fund, for distressed investments, had been seeded with US$300 million and the broader multi-strategy ‘first’ fund with US$500 million.
Barker is an experienced alternatives manager who worked at Momentum Asset Management, which was acquired by Pioneer in 2002, and stayed with the new firm until last year.
He said Hermes BPK was fortunate to have the highly regarded Hermes corporate governance program behind it, which provided for a transparent structure and forced the managers to pursue a policy of good governance.
A lot of the Hermes Group’s 215 external clients use the firm’s ESG platform.
Barker said that Hermes believed there were more alpha-generating opportunities for hedge funds currently than there had been for a generation. The restructuring fund would typically have about eight to twelve managers, perhaps including one or two activist funds.
Wild said Plus Capital would be seeking other managers and funds to represent. He would be looking for a suite to include an Asian equity manager, an Australian boutique, a single-manager multi-strategy fund and perhaps something in the ESG space.