“That would give away the DNA of the company.” The manager is currently searching for a head of Australian equities research to join its newly launched local manufacturing, headed by director Murray Brewer and portfolio manager Randal Jenneke. The new hire will contribute to this ‘DNA’ of T. Rowe Price: the ability to find companies with good long-term prospects, and rank them on its global research platform. Each of the firm’s investment analysts – no matter where they work – are paid in accordance with the quality of their recommendations and how deeply the companies they rate well are used in T. Rowe Price portfolios. For instance, a banking analyst in Hong Kong could be rewarded for recommending that certain financial institutions in Asia not only used in regional portfolios, but also in the manager’s global financials fund.
T. Rowe Price’s Australian presence would serve two purposes: to deepen the manager’s coverage of the local market – its Baltimore and London teams currently research 11 Australian stocks, and it runs global sector funds covering metals and mining – and to “set up a business to sell Australian equities to Australian clients,” Alderson said. “There’s a great opportunity here, and we thought – despite it being pretty competitive with 150- plus [Australian equities] managers – there was a gap in the market for a stable, long-only, committed institution.” In Australia, the manager would cover the largest 130 companies, Jenneke said. He believed the proprietary global research platform, fed by analysts around the globe, would provide information about multinationals listed in Australia – such as James Hardie, CSL and Cochlear – that was out of reach for many domestic boutiques.