The first investment strategy Artio Global Investors will sell in Australia through new country head Ian Webber will be global equities.

Artio has sold its global equity strategy to US institutions since 2002. Global consultants’ familiarity with the capability should smooth its entry to the Australian market, Tony Williams, Artio COO, says. However relationships with influential local consultants Frontier and JANA will need to be forged.

It emerged last week that Artio, which manages about US$50 billion from predominantly US institutional and retail investors, had appointed Ian Webber to lead its sales efforts in Australia and New Zealand from a newly established Sydney office.

Webber says that about 80 per cent of Artio’s funds under management are sourced from US institutions and the manager will replicate this focus in Australia.

“Our target will be the institutional market.”

Sydney is Artio’s second offshore base, following its establishment of a sales office in London in January this year.

In time, as the manager brings its fixed income and credit hedge fund strategies to Australia, it will consider marketing these capabilities to investors in selected Asian markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and Taiwan.

This is Artio’s second attempt to sell funds in Australia. About three years ago, it hired Credit Suisse Asset Management (CSAM) to distribute its global equity fund in Australia. However most of the CSAM business was later acquired by Aberdeen.

Artio is the former funds management arm of Julius Baer’s US private banking business, which was set up in 1995. It was sold in 2004 and the investment team became a standalone entity.

In 2009, Artio undertook an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. It now has a market capitalisation of US$670 million, of which about 25 per cent is owned by staff.

Much of this equity is held by Richard Pell, who has been CIO since the manager’s beginning and CEO since 2005, and Rudolph-Riad Younes, head of international equities, Williams says.

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