Chris Robertson doesn’t believe in size for size’s sake.

“We’re not rampant asset gathers,” says the senior investment specialist, Australian equities, Colonial First State Global Asset Management.

“We manage our capacity very carefully. We’re not afraid to soft close,” says Robertson.

Colonial’s Australian equities team manages about $9.5 billion. About $5.5 billion is actively managed. The rest is in index funds.

Robertson says the capacity for the fund in large market value, stock investing is $11 billion. The team has capacity of $8 billion for such investing, he says.

Gross returns for the fund have been as much as 3.5 per cent per annum since inception, says Robertson.

“The key is alpha generation for clients,” he says.

The former portfolio manager says international investors have appetite for Australian stocks. Local investors who currently have their money in cash may be willing to put more of their money into shares if there is more confidence in the economy and earnings.

Many so-called balanced funds, that historically have had as much as 40 per cent of their assets in Australian stocks, do not have that much in shares today.

There are 19 people in Colonial’s Australian equities team. Robertson joined to help garner business and serve as a bridge between investors and Colonial’s investment team.

“The number of investment specialists in Australia is increasing,” says Robertson. “The investment team is focusing on the job of managing money.”

He says there will be always be “a place for boutiques” but “less investment managers are leaving established firms. That is more a function of the current environment,” says Roberston.

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