Ella Brown doesn’t mince her words. AMP Capital’s head of fundamental equities says some Australian boutique fund managers have an inflated reputation.
“Just because people are in a boutique it doesn’t mean they have more commitment to the product than us at AMP Capital. We have very passionate portfolio managers,” says Brown.
She says there has been “an illusion of greatness” around some who have been perceived as “hot investors.”
“Their performance has proved otherwise,” says Brown.
AMP Capital’s core equity fund has had annual gross returns of 8.4 per cent since May 10, 2000. The S&P/ASX 200 Index is up 7.3 per cent a year on average during the same period.
The company’s sustainable share fund has had gross annual returns of 7.3 per cent since February 21, 2001. The S&P/ASX 200 Index has gained 6.7 per cent on average during the same period.
“I don’t think investors are permanently out of the equity market at all,” says Brown, a University of Chicago graduate who worked 18 years in London at ABN Amro Group, Credit Suisse Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Still, the Canadian native acknowledges widespread disillusionment with Australian stock funds, many of which have lost money since 2008.
Dinner party conversations during bull and bear markets are different, says Brown.
When markets are rising many say they do a better job at investing than the professionals. When markets swoon many blame fund managers, she says.
Brown is keen to convince Australians who have about $390 billion in self-managed superannuation funds to entrust some of their investing to her 13 member team.
AMP Capital sometime by March 31 will sell a stock fund that will invest in as many as 35 companies.
Brown also plans to offer a fund that will invest in high-dividend, fully franked stocks aimed at retired and soon to be retired Australians.
“Retirees have been an underserved segment” by Australian asset managers, says Brown.
She is also looking to tap international investor demand for exposure to Australia’s mining stocks.
AMP Capital has hired New Zealander John Payne, who has worked in Hong Kong and London for 24 years, to start a global resources fund.
The company has about $123 billion in assets under management and is the investment unit of AMP Ltd.