Jana will research a greater range of investment strategies for its clients following its merger with MLC Investment Management.

Ian Patrick, whose job title changes from chief executive to co-head of Jana, said the increased capability would meet the needs of clients who were seeking increasingly idiosyncratic approaches to traditional asset classes.

He listed long-short strategies, regional and income related strategies plus alternatives to traditional fixed income as areas that could be more easily covered by the largest investment research team in Australia.

“Duration and credit management used to be the focus of fixed income, but with interest rates at historically low levels, more managers offer absolute return products with hedge fund characteristics, using leverage, long short strategies, or market neutral strategies,” he said.

The merger does not bring Jana the international coverage that its competitors boast of, but Patrick thinks his teams in Melbourne and Sydney are more attuned to client needs.

“If you ask global competitors they would say they have bigger teams offshore, but they are not focused on the local client base with the local challenges of Australian investors at the forefront of where they are thinking when they approach the research,” he said.

Patrick said there would be no loss of staff in the merger and that the MLC and Jana teams, which had been on different floors of the same block in Sydney, would move into the same office space.

The MLC brand will disappear for advised and institutional clients, but will be retained as a retail brand. The new enlarged Jana team will provide research for the retail MLC brand, becoming the ‘Intel inside’ for retail products.

The new enlarged advice and research team will be led by Patrick and it will also look after implemented consulting clients.

Portfolio management, under Jana, will be led by Jonathan Armitage, who will be responsible for the construction and ongoing management of all multi-manager sector portfolios and all diversified portfolios provided through NAB Group platforms to both retail and institutional clients. Armitage’s new title is also co-head of Jana.

NAB’s Asset Management business now spans investment advisory, research and portfolio management, direct investment management, and manages over $130 billion in funds for Australians.

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