Six of the biggest names in Australian unlisted investments, including three recently-departed executives from Wilshire Associates’ private markets division, have combined in the formation of Continuity Capital Partners. Ovidio Iglesias, Grant Fleming and Bill Humphreys were managing $3 billion from Australian investors in Wilshire’s Australian and offshore private equity fund-of-funds, before leaving in March alongside numerous other Wilshire executives from around the world. The three subsequently met in a Canberra cafe to discuss their future plans, once Grant Fleming had returned from Tokyo where he’d run Wilshire Associates’ Japan office. “It’s a bit like that old style of joke – an economist, an actuary and an academic walk into a coffee shop and end up starting a new firm!”

Iglesias said last month. The trio will be majority owners in the new business, however three non-executive directors will equally share a minority stake – they are Mike Fitzpatrick, the AFL chairman and founder of infrastructure manager Hastings; Les Fallick, the funds management veteran who founded and now chairs private market placement agent, Principle Advisory Services; and Tim Poole, the former managing director of Hastings. Continuity will broaden its focus beyond Wilshire’s private equity specialty, with the founders intending to advise and create fund-of-funds across real estate, credit, natural resources and infrastructure, too.

Iglesias said the name “Continuity” referred to the firm’s intention to make unlisted assets seem a natural continuum to the listed investments which institutions have traditionally preferred. However, the name may also be seen by some as an offer to the Wilshire investors the trio left behind, who are considering a vote on the management rights of the two fund-of-funds following the departures.

Iglesias said the management of the Wilshire funds was a matter for the investors in those funds and for Wilshire. In any case, the two fund-of-funds are understood to be in ‘run-off ’ mode in terms of fees paid to the fund-of-fund manager, with the important work of initial manager selection long completed. Continuity will offer a range of services to institutional investors, from advisory services on illiquid asset investing in Asia, to the construction of non-discretionary segregated investment mandates, to the creation of funds-of-funds. Fleming said the emerging powerhouses of China and India would probably be accessed via managers with “indirect” exposure at first, but there would be more focus on indigenous managers as the team became more comfortable with sovereign and regulatory risk.

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