Palisade Investment Partners, an unlisted infrastructure boutique, has simultaneously netted $300 million in new flows and added two investment staff to its team, among them a former partner with Access Capital Advisers.

Julian Widdup, a former partner with Access, an asset consultant, recently joined the company to help investments director Roger Lloyd manage its diversified infrastructure fund, a pooled vehicle, and oversee the investment programs of separately managed accounts (SMAs).

As with all staff working in Palisade’s near-flat management structure, he would do analysis and due diligence on assets in the acquisition phase, Lloyd and managing director Ian Mitchell said.

Widdup was appointed as the new inflows, from undisclosed investors, brought Palisade’s funds under management to $500 million, half of which would be invested in SMAs once the new commitments are put to work, Lloyd said.

The boutique also recruited Jane Watson, a former asset manager with Australian Agribusiness Group, to work on its regional infrastructure fund, which manages up to $300 million and is currently acquiring cattle stockyards from regional councils in a bullish “aggregation play”, Lloyd said.

He said these operations “haven’t come out of the 19th century” and that advances in technology and transport made it possible to “aggregate” the stockyards, which are used as marketplaces for livestock trading, on a region-by-region basis.

The manager currently owns four stockyards, is close to acquiring two more, and is eyeing another 15 “now that we’ve got capital,” Lloyd said.

“We’ve identified a regionalisation play at work, and councils are fairly low on capital.”

Since his appointment, Widdup has been commuting between Canberra and Sydney for his new role. Watson had relocated from Melbourne, but was currently in Wodonga researching a stockyard.

At Access, Widdup bore prime responsibility for investment operations, and has been replaced by his understudy, Simeon Coughlan, confirmed chief executive officer Alexander Austin.

Austin said that Widdup’s shareholding in the fully staff-owned company would be returned by the same process used to resolve similar situations in the past. (For more details see today’s lead story.)

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