Insourcing of investment teams by Australian superannuation funds is an “opportunity, not a closed door” for US fund manager Neuberger Berman.

George H Walker, the chairman and chief executive officer of New York-based Neuberger Berman, is in Australia this week to meet with clients and

told I&T News his firm was working with several Australian funds that had taken the insourcing path.

“In some cases, the CIO is able to take four slices, each equivalent to 1 per cent of the fund and give them to a manager, even though they are taking the insourcing approach,” said Walker.

“In these cases, the CIO will say ‘I want to learn from you’ or ‘try and beat me’ and use the dialogue with the fund manager as a benchmarking and

learning experience.”

In those cases, Neuberger Berman worked as a “thought partner” for the large funds.

 

Modest ambitions

Neuberger Berman set up its Australian business in Melbourne two years ago and has won around 10 mandates and has around $800 million in Australian

institutional funds under management.

“We have fairly modest ambitions, and we will never rank high in Aussie league tables, but we don’t aspire to,” said Walker.

“In 10 years if we have 20 relationships here where we are adding value – that is terrific.”

Walker said there were two reasons to win mandates.

“One, is people who are looking at us in a very conventional sense, and they are purchasing a particular capability such as our emerging market

equity team,” he says.

“But the second area is with institutions who are looking for a bit more of a partner who is prepared to customise a bit, and we relish those

relationships.”

Neuberger Berman was founded in 1939 and has just under US$200 billion in assets under management. The firm is now majority employee-owned, a

factor which Walker said was a major driver of the approach and philosophy.

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