Australian hedge funds and boutique investment firms control $208.4-billion-worth of assets, or around 17 percent of the total of $1.19 trillion managed by the entire Australian investment management industry.

These are the findings of an inaugural survey by Triple A Partners and Basis Point Consulting, launched this week as the Australian Hedge and Boutique Fund Directory.

The survey shows that the local boutique industry eclipses that of Hong Kong, where the same sector manages $37 billion in hedge fund and long-only absolute-return assets and Singapore, with $20 billion.

The directory identifies 102 independently owned Australian boutiques, with $165.6 billion in assets under management (AUM) and 63 hedge-fund firms managing $42.8 billion.


Firm foothold in the Australian landscape

Basis Point’s David Chin said that the directory showed that the boutique industry had survived “surprisingly well” despite the global financial crisis, the ongoing flatness of the Australian equity market and other factors – such as super funds taking investment in-house.

“It shows that these independently owned firms have an excellent foothold in the Australian landscape,” Chin said in a telephone interview.

“I think they have survived well because there are a range of investors out there, from self-managed superannuation funds to global funds of funds, who are wanting to use these specialist managers.”


Ongoing benchmark

The inaugural survey will serve as a benchmark, with the exercise set to be repeated annually.

The survey also shows that of the total $208.4 billion AUM, more than $60 billion – or just under 30 per cent – is deployed by Australian managers into global assets.

In terms of segmentation by state, New South Wales managers have combined AUM of $142.2 billion, while Victoria and Queensland have $38 billion and $24 billion, respectively.

Platinum Asset Management is the largest hedge fund, with over $14 billion AUM, while Perennial is the largest fund boutique, with AUM of $18 billion.

The directory also lists recent start-ups, the largest of which is Altius Asset Management. Launched in 2011, the firm has $364 million AUM.

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