Industry Funds Management (IFM), the $28 billion asset manager owned by 33 not-for-profit superannuation funds, is searching for a distribution specialist to open its next office outside of Melbourne.

Brett Himbury, CEO at the Melbourne-based manager, confirmed IFM was planning to open an office in Sydney to cater to its NSW  clients and also market its capabilities to prospective investors in the state.

Of IFM’s 60 clients, 17 are based offshore and the majority of its Australian investors are industry funds in Melbourne.

“We’re underweight in NSW. We’re growing, and in the last 12 months to two years we’ve added [clients], but we’re still underweight in the industry fund and corporate [super] market,” Himbury said.

He said IFM had appointed an external search firm to seek out viable candidates ahead of an expected Sydney office launch in the coming months.

However the move did not indicate the industry fund-owned manager’s headquarters would be moved north of its origins in Melbourne.

“We will always be a Melbourne-based business,” he said.

Further afield, Himbury said the manager was planning a third offshore office to extend its reach beyond Melbourne, New York and London. He ruled out the Latin America and the Middle East regions, leaving the Asia-Pacific as the most probable market for IFM’s next offshore expansion.

In the past year, IFM garnered about $7 billion in new money – primarily for its passive Australian equities, domestic and global infrastructure, and Australian infrastructure debt capabilities – meaning the manager now surpassed Perpetual in terms of funds under management, which oversees about $27 billion.

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