IFM poaches AMP Capital quant team

IFM Investors chief executive Brett Himbury


By Wouter Klijn

IFM Investors has poached a nine-member quantitative equity team from AMP Capital, including AMP Capital head of active quantitative strategies Lachlan Davis.

The team will run three new strategies for IFM, including Australian long-only active equity, Australian long-short equity and Asia long-short market-neutral capabilities.

Davis is an AMP veteran and was appointed as head of active quant funds and senior portfolio manager in July 2006.

He also held the role of senior portfolio manager and analyst for the active quant team from 1997 and had responsibility for the ongoing management and research of AMP Capital’s active quant portfolios.

IFM Investors did not want to name the other members of the team yet due to confidentiality agreements.

But in March, AMP Capital announced a series of promotions within Davis’s team, including the appointment of Rob Pinnuck and Reuben De Barros as deputy heads of multi-strategy funds, while Matthew Salmon was promoted to portfolio manager.

This team also included Hong Kong-based senior portfolio manager Nicholas Koh.

IFM chief executive Brett Himbury confirmed the team hired by IFM included a Hong Kong-based portfolio manager and the company would now look to open a representative office there.

“The bulk of the team will be in Sydney, but there is one person up in Hong Kong and so that will be the commencement of an office in Hong Kong,” Himbury told theinstoreport.

“It will be our first person on the ground in Hong Kong.”

He said IFM had not had the chance yet to poll the interest of specific clients in the Asian equity strategy, but the current climate lent itself to such a strategy.

“Broadly speaking, clients in this low interest rate, low-return environment look for alpha opportunities and so generally speaking they see active Asian equities as a way to get access to limited alpha opportunities,” he said.

“We think there should be not just interest from Australia, but also from overseas.”

The appointment of the team was the result of implementing a new three-year strategic plan, he said.

“Our strategic plan, which was approved by the board in July, was to expand our listed equities capability,” he said.

“We could see an opportunity to add more to clients’ returns through an active capability.

“We then thought about a range of implementation opportunities and hired a firm to help us with the search.”

Davis will report to IFM executive director of active equities Neil Carter, who also runs the company’s small-cap equity strategy.

That strategy reached a soft close last year.

AMP Capital confirmed the departure of the multi-strategy team in an emailed statement.

“During the last 12 months, AMP Capital has been working on its strategy and vision for our Global Equities capability,” the company said.

“In June, we announced a new structure for the business, which brings together all equities capabilities into the one team and under a new global head of equities.

“We believe this will result in better outcomes for clients and AMP Capital because this allows these teams to leverage their investment advantages more broadly and for the benefit of clients.

“Central to our strategy and vision, now and going forward, is a shared view of vision and culture across the team and the firm.

“A number of individuals from the multi-strategy equities team have decided to take a different path, resigning yesterday.

“The global equities strategy we have in place is robust and builds on our capability in global, regional and domestic equity styles and encourages collaboration across AMP Capital, which we believe will result in better outcomes for clients,” the statement read.

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