Through its new multi-asset group (MAG), AMP Capital Investors aims to distinguish itself from other big multi-managers by tapping into its asset allocation and manufacturing capabilities to build customised products in consultation with institutional clients – rather than promote existing investment strategies. David Kiddie, director of MAG, will have access to the $96 billion manager’s primary manufacturing and strategy capabilities: the strategy and research team, led by Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist; the multi-manager Future Directions Funds (FDF) business under director Sean Henaghan; and the funds and structured team, led by Gerald Naughton.

“We’re well-regarded in the asset allocation and multi-manager space and can continue to develop this. But we see more specific demands from clients. We’re asset allocation and multi-manager experts, and felt we were in a strong position to turn things around,” Kiddie said. “Rather than taking individual products to clients, maybe the whole point is to reach out to existing and potential clients.” Kiddie identified AMP Capital’s abilities in asset allocation as a key advantage over competitors. While the manager “could access most exposures, its value lay in putting them together”.

He acknowledged that some of the larger superannuation funds, such as AustralianSuper, staffed large internal teams that could perform some of this strategic work, but was confident the collaborative approach used by MAG would generate opportunities. To building customised portfolios, he said “listening to clients about what they want, rather than arrogantly assuming that you’ve got the answers is important”. “We want to be building portfolios with clients.” Kiddie relocated from the UK in late 2009 to undertake the new position, and spent recent months learning about AMP Capital’s capabilities and participating in introductory meetings with existing clients and other investors.

He was unable to say whether any collaborative projects were underway, but said MAG would be capable of developing products ranging from cash to various multi-manager funds, in addition to dynamic asset allocation strategies. But these services would not be open exclusively to Australian investors: “the market’s not just here. It’s throughout Asia,” he said. AMP Capital’s managing director of international business, Anthony Fasso, would help promote MAG from his Hong Kong base. Kiddie said AMP Capital’s teams in Singapore and Japan would also assist the group. Before joining AMP Capital, Kiddie was an investment advisor for AllenbridgeEPIC, a group of independent experts advising pension funds and investment committees on investment matters, and was a non-executive director of Trade Union Fund Management. Previously, he held a number of senior positions at funds management companies, including chief investment officer of ABN Amro Asset Management.

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