CFM beefs up Australian presence for new onslaught

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Capital Fund Management, a global quant manager, has opened an Australian office, in Sydney, to be staffed by two experienced marketers with regional responsibilities. Winston Capital Partners, which has been the on-the-ground distribution arm until now, will continue in its role with CFM, concentrating on the wholesale and retail markets.

CFM has been one of the champions of the increasingly popular risk premia and alternative beta style of investing, in which it has a long history, and is well-suited to the inexorable trend for lower fees and charges across all three market segments – institutional, wholesale and retail.

Steve Shepherd, the head of Asia Pacific for CFM, will relocate from Tokyo to Sydney and be joined by Mark Yetman, who has taken on the new role of Asia Pacific director of investor relations. Yetman had previously spent 13 years at Dimensional Fund Advisors, which refers to itself as a ‘mathematical’ manager.

Shepherd, who joined the firm in Tokyo in 2012, flagged the establishment of an Australian office in September last year on a regular visit to Australia.

While most of its business globally has traditionally come from large pension funds, the firm has in Australia built more accessible products for the wholesale advisor market in the past couple of years and is now on several major platforms.

Stephen Robertson, Winston co-founder and managing director, said CFM was committed to partnering with his firm regarding retail distribution. The office opening in Sydney was very positive for Winston as it expanded its retail/advisor footprint, he said.

“We now have greater access to their team to assist us with advisor education and retail consultant engagement… In fact, the entire Winston team is in Paris with CFM later this month as we continue to both invest in the partnership. And we have many joint activities planned for the remainder of 2018 as we continue to have their products added to APLs, platforms, model portfolios and managed accounts,” Robertson said. “The Aussie retail market needs a high-quality alternative strategies manager like CFM.”

CFM has been a big supporter of the annual AIMA Australia Forum, where Europe-based director Philippe Jordan has addressed several sessions in recent years. The Forum is being held on September 12 this year, at the Westin Hotel in Sydney.

Yetman said: “CFM has a track-record of over 27 years at the cutting edge of alternative beta strategies and, in my opinion, offers some of the best funds in the market. The robust academic focus really appeals to me, and I am also looking forward to working with the excellent team of people I have met at CFM.

“At the moment, we have over US$11 billion in funds under management, principally from institutional investors. However, demand from wealth management and dealer groups, as well as family offices, is growing exponentially now that our funds are available on seven major platforms: Macquarie Wrap, Netwealth, Colonial First State, BT Financial’s Panorama, Hub 24, Mason Stevens and Powerwrap. I have a keen focus to further improve our distribution, and therefore access, to alternative beta strategies for both institutional investors and advisors.”

CFM was founded in 1991 by Jean-Pierre Aguilar, and merged in 2000 with another French company, Science & Finance, which was founded by Jean-Philippe Bouchard in 1994. Since the death of Jean-Pierre Aguilar in July 2009, in a gliding accident, the company has been managed by directors Bouchaud, Philippe Jordan, Marc Potters and Jacques Saulière.

– G.B.

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