SHEARWOOD_David_WILSON_Drew_01032010_webAtom Funds Management, an Australian small-cap boutique, has picked up a $60 million mandate from an implemented consulting firm.

Ibbotson Associates (formerly known as Intech), has added Atom to the manager register of its $1.1 billion Australian Shares Active Trust.

Atom, which is majority owned by the South African financial services firm Sanlam, has a distinctive research style which includes staffing an office of 10 analysts in Mumbai, India.

Mathew Tuxford, the Ibbotson portfolio manager who oversaw the Atom appointment, said yesterday: “I was impressed by Atom’s depth of research resources. By building a team of analysts in India, Atom has attempted to give itself an information advantage in an inefficient space.”

Atom has had good performance since its inception on December 1, 2007. David Shearwood, the CIO, and Drew Wilson, the managing director, had spent the best part of the previous two years setting up the firm and recruiting the analysts.

Atom is ranked number three out of the 24 managers in the Mercer small-cap sector survey for the 12 months to December, with an 82.6 per cent return, against the index return of 57.4 per cent. The fund has returned minus 11.6 per cent since inception, against the index’s minus 17.1 per cent.

As at the end of January it held 64 stocks in the portfolio. The largest holding is Link Energy, which is a world leader in coal gassification – turning coal into clean diesel. It also has a big holding in Industria, which manufactures safety equipment for miners and has won some big contracts in China.

The manager is overweight energy and materials.

Sanlam has recently added to its Australian multi-affiliate line-up by backing Eight Funds management, which was started by Asian equity specialist Kerry Series last month.

Drew Wilson acts as managing director for both boutiques.

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