T. Rowe Price is hunting for investment talent to satisfy four roles as it builds a manufacturing base in Sydney under domestic business head Murray Brewer and portfolio manager Randal Jenneke – but will not ‘lift out’ a team from a rival manager.

 

Former Schroder Australian equity portfolio manager Jenneke will begin interviewing candidates for the four analyst roles – including a head of research for the Australian market – this week, and denied industry speculation by ruling out the possibility that T. Rowe Price would lure an existing team from a rival manager.

“T. Rowe doesn’t buy teams,” Jenneke said, explaining that teams that walked were usually in chief pursuit of better remuneration.

“We’ve never bought, only built,” Brewer added. “You’ve got to build a culture. You can’t buy one.”

Jenneke said each analyst would cover about 30 stocks to provide him with research on 120–30 stocks placed throughout the capital spectrum so that “a lot of cross-over knowledge from talking to big and small companies” could be gained.

He was demure on whether the fund would be a core or concentrated product, and said there would be no equity ownership in the boutique for any member of the domestic team.

He said the global platform would provide information about the performance of Australian companies deriving much of their revenue form overseas, such as James Hardie and QBE Insurance.

“We can tap into that experience and information. If you’re a local boutique you just don’t have the resources. You’re very much reliant of your broker or a few overseas trips each year.”

T. Rowe Price has raised about $3.5 billion from Australian investors since opening its domestic distribution office under Brewer in 2006. Since then, the idea of establishing an Australian manufacturing base had been discussed, but it was Chris Alderson, head of the international investment division of T. Rowe Price, that pushed the idea “over the line,” Brewer said. Australia’s economic growth and increasing size of its capital market were the major drawcards, Brewer said.

They Sydney office will be the first manufacturing base T. Rowe Price has opened since its Singapore office in 1997, and will essentially serve as an extension of the manager’s global research platform – and one that enabled the manager to launch an Australian equities product.

“We’re not just going to build a product and off we go,” Brewer said, explaining that T. Rowe Price analysts’ remuneration was aligned with the success of their recommendations and the number of products they contribute to.

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