I&T News has a new columnist, one of Sydney’s biggest investors and wheeler-dealers, who goes by the nom de plum, Castlereagh. He had a busy week, being feted by the hordes of international fund managers who are making their way to Australia in search of investors.
Isn’t international tourism struggling because of the high value of the dollar? What is it with all these international fund managers who seem to be so keen on visiting our shores?
Castlereagh has been feted continually by a growing roll call of urbane international fund-manager types over the last couple of weeks, so much so that he has been absent from his regular lunchtime table at the Spice Temple.
We have been weaned off the duck pancakes washed down with that exquisite Sancerre and have sampled a variety of cuisines, all of them provided in the context of wooing us into putting a portion of the family endowment their way.
We even went to the Westin and put up with a huge rubber chicken lunch courtesy of Fidelity, only just out of a favour to that charming Guy McKanna, their indefatigable PR. There, we were exhorted to invest in their very impressive sounding Demographic Fund, and thereafter rushed out and bought shares in Nigerian Breweries on their recommendation. I’ll hold those for the long haul, until those 14-year-olds in Lagos start partying.
We have met an urbane Bostonian from MFS, who has walked out the door with a significant number of staff from former partners BNP Paribas. Their offices – on Castlereagh, of course – had the sense that the fit-out men had just left the building. Minutes earlier and we would have heard them listening to Alan Jones as they finished the last lick of paint and arranged the last carpet square.
Then there was that charming Irish/Canadian crowd we had coffee with, mixing old-school East Coast firm Eaton Vance and their elfin Irish director with some laconic French Canadians who run a shop called Hexavest out of Montreal. Castlereagh thought everybody there lived underground because it is so cold, but apparently not. These guys are all over global equities (or so they claimed, but it was hard to penetrate the accent).
In the next week we are meeting Swiss fund managers, more Americans and then hope to catch up with the old boys from Henderson, who seem to have got over the heartache of their divorce from AMP a decade ago and are back in town with more than rugby. Oh, and I just got an email about some sovereign bond investors who want to meet me too.
I really must recommend that we have lunch at the Spice Temple, and they can pick up the tab. I don’t know another restaurant in town with that delightful Sancerre.
Like the big super funds, Castlereagh is now being bombarded with new supplicants, desperate to invest his money and full of reasons why they have the best strategy to do so. It seems the rest of the world has ground to a halt and we are the epicentre of the universe.
Of course, with $2 billion going into super for the working class every week, I can understand it, which must make it even more attractive when you consider the spare change Castlereagh needs a new home for.
I don’t mind these people. They seem nice enough – not carpetbaggers at all. But shouldn’t we get Customs involved? What about our own Aussie managers? Aren’t they going to lose out if these foreigners muscle in?
Shouldn’t they know Bradman’s batting average, the definition of a lamington and the 2012 AFL Premiers before we let them off the plane? They should at least be familiar with the menu at the Spice Temple and know that my preferred quaff is the Sancerre.