Vinay_Narsi_SmlUBS Global Asset Management is in post-Centro recovery mode with its appointment of an analyst in global real estate securities to replace Andrew McGrath and David Curtis, co-portfolio managers, who resigned in late October.

Vinay Narsi started at UBS last week after a stint as senior equity analyst at Queensland Investment Corporation, covering REITs, developers and contractors.

Paul Bolinowsky, UBS’s head, said he’s “very, very pleased with the fit. This appointment is a direct result of two departures from the REITs team in November”.

Vinay had “explicit experience in covering REITs in QIC”, said Bolinowsky, and UBS was “familiar with some of the people Narsi had worked with”.

There were three main reasons for Narsi’s appointment, Bolinowsky said. “He [Narsi] has existing buy-side as opposed to sell-side; he is willing and able to perform detailed fundamental analysis; and he can work within existing research templates.”

“We’ve decided to house REITs within the Australian equities team and Narsi joins the existing equity analyst in this area.

“Culturally, we’re a team, and think people are more productive in working with peers rather than in isolation.”

Narsi will be reporting to Karina Fung, regional head of global real estate securities, and also supporting Jakov Males in his portfolio management.

Narsi is a member of the CFA Institute and a Fellow of Insia [Financial Service Institute of Australasia].

Bolinowsky conceded UBS had taken a pummelling thanks to Centro, in which its REIT fund was significantly overweight into late 2007.

“It’s been a very difficult period late 2007 through 2008, but 2009 was a pleasing turnaround. We’re 6 per cent ahead of the benchmark, and we’re bullish for 2010.”

Bolinowsky was also bullish about UBS’s return to form on S&P’s REITs ratings. The Centro mauling put UBS on hold in the previous ratings, and UBS remained on hold in the sector report published last week.

S&P’s actions were “very natural to put [us] on hold,” Bolinowsky said. “We’re working on that in the coming months through the appointment of Vinay Narsi.”

And on another tack, it’s been rumoured that UBS is re-considering its use of NAB Asset Servicing for backoffice. But again, Bolinowsky was bullish about the future. “No decision has been made,” he said. “Like everyone else, we do regular reviews of business custody and registry. We’ve had a long and fruitful relationship with NAB.”

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