Pengana Capital will stop marketing standalone funds to institutional investors. 

The Sydney-based firm will sell customised multi-manager products as it sharpens its focus on retail and high-net-worth individual markets. Denis Carroll, a superannuation industry veteran who led Pengana’s distribution efforts for the past four years, is stepping back from full-time work. Carroll has become a Pengana consultant.

The $1.5 billion funds manager has enjoyed some success in the institutional market. About half its funds are sourced from superannuation funds and other large investors, but fundraising has become more difficult in recent years.

“Institutional marketing is getting tougher and tougher by the day,” says Carroll.

To win mandates funds managers must prove they can beat Australia’s 4.75 per cent cash rate, net of fees, or serve as attractive diversifiers in multi-manager portfolios. Many super funds now prefer to sign larger mandates with fewer managers, countering their pre-financial crisis emphasis on manager diversification.

Damian Crowley, Pengana’s new head of distribution, the firm has strengthened its sales efforts towards financial planning groups, independent financial advisors, family offices and high-net-worth individuals.

Carroll will help Nick Griffiths, Pengana’s chief investment officer, and Greg Clarke, the company’s head of multi-manager funds, as they develop customised investment “solutions” for superannuation funds and financial planning group clients, Griffiths says.

The company runs a range of active equity and bond strategies. It will also consider other managers’ strategies when developing multi-manager products.

John Hamer, an executive director who worked with Carroll to garner institutional clients, will focus on the high-net-worth and family office markets. Hamer will also bring Pengana’s multi-manager skills to the attention of super funds.

In 1990 Carroll was the founding plan secretary of the Civil Aviation Authority Staff Superannuation Scheme, which became AvSuper. He worked at the fund for 15 years before joining third-party marketer Ixis, which is now Apostle Asset Management. He then joined Pengana.

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