Robert Penaloza, who joined Aberdeen Asset Management as a graduate trainee in Singapore in 1997, has been appointed the business’ head of Australian equities.

Penaloza, 37, will formally begin his new role on July 1 and replaces Mark Daniels, 55, who has worked at Edinburgh-based Aberdeen for a quarter century.

“Mark expressed a desire to step away from day-to-day management,” said Brett Jollie, 39, who is in charge of Aberdeen in Australia. “Rob has expressed a desire to manage staff but the investment strategies will remain a team process, and Mark will be an investment director and will remain part of the equities team.”

Jollie characterises Aberdeen’s equities investment strategy as “bottom-up fundamental research that leads to concentrated portfolios.”

Aberdeen acquired Credit Suisse’s asset management’s business in 2009. The Zurich-based bank has a 20 per cent stake in Aberdeen as part of the deal. In 2007 Aberdeen took over Deutsche Asset Management’s Australian equities and fixed income business.

Penaloza, a Northern Territory University graduate, grew up in Darwin. He worked for the Territory’s treasury department before joining Aberdeen in 2001 to set up the Scottish fund manager’s Bangkok office.

Penaloza became chief executive of Aberdeen’s Thai operations in 2005. When he left to return to Singapore in 2008 staff numbers had grown to almost 50 people from 33 in 2001 and assets under management had increased to about $3 billion from about $600 million.

“I hope to bring out the strengths of the team, make sure they are properly trained, integrated well and that their experience is reflected in the portfolio” said Penaloza.

Aberdeen employs 75 people in Australia. It manages $19 billion and Jollie said it is the 16th biggest fund manager in Australia. The company has 24 funds, 10 fixed income investment staff and 10 equities investment personnel including two based in Singapore.

Jollie wants to grow Aberdeen’s fixed income, equities and property funds under management without many more staff. “We haven’t set firm numbers,” he said. “We’re looking for growth.”

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