Hermes, the multi-boutique asset manager backed by British Telecom Pension Scheme, has opened an Australian office helmed by the prominent former local boss of another global funds manager.

The multi-boutique, known in Australia for its sustainably-minded ‘Focus Funds’ and its investee engagement offering, Hermes Equity Ownership Services, has hired Ian Manton-Hall to open a Sydney office and represent a variety of its businesses.

Manton-Hall was, since 2001, the Australian head for ABN Amro Asset Management and its successor Fortis Investment Management, before Fortis merged globally with BNP Paribas Investment Partners and he was made redundant in the first quarter of this year.

The executive will travel to Hermes’ London headquarters later this month to investigate the firm’s capabilities, which have different levels of ownership by the BT Pension Scheme.

While Hermes’ Focus Funds and the Equity Ownership Service already have Australian clients, Manton-Hall said there were also private equity, property and and a Boston-based global equity capability which showed promise.

“The Hermes stable also includes the world’s largest commodities manager…I certainly didn’t know that until recently,” Manton-Hall said.

The executive said he was attracted to the Hermes business by the fact that the BT Pension Scheme not only owns stakes in its managers, but invests its members’ money with them as well.

“It creates a really healthy alignment of interest,” he said.

The hedge fund-of-funds business part-owned by BT Pension Scheme, Hermes BPK Partners, is represented in Australia by third-party marketer Neil Wild, and Manton-Hall said that arrangement would remain in place.

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