Fund manager Cooper Investors has unveiled the next phase of the firm’s growth strategy after making a series of appointments designed to bolster the firm’s international investment arm.

Led by low-profile founder Peter Cooper, the Melbourne-based fund manger has amassed $11 billion in funds under management with the vast majority of capital invested in its domestic equity strategies.

Under the new initiative, the firm has appointed Equity Trustees as responsible entity for the Cooper Investors Global Equities Fund (Hedged) and Cooper Investors Global Equities (Unhedged) which account for $1.3 billion in FUM.

Retail market push

Cooper Investors has also appointed Andrew Hall as distribution manager. Mr Hall has been lured to Cooper Investors after 10 years at K2 Asset Management where he led the alternative asset manager’s push into the retail market.
Cooper Investors managing director Mr Cooper said the appointments would help bring the specialist global equity manager’s investment products to a wider market.

“There has been strong interest in our global fund funds among high-net-worth investors and their financial advisers, and in response we have taken steps to make it easier for them to invest in those products,” Mr Cooper said.

The six strategies run by Cooper Investors were previously only available as wholesale unit trusts with a minimum investment of $500,000. Under the terms of the new arrangement investors can access the two global strategies with a minimum investment of $20,000.

New approach

Equity Trustees executive general manager Harvey Kalman says that the decision to appoint Equity Trustees as an independent responsible entity will allow Cooper Investors to focus on its strengths while outsourcing elements of compliance.

Mr Kalman said the new approach could mean the global strategies attract “millions and billions” in additional investor capital.

Equity Trustees provides trustee services for a range of boutique fund managers including Allan Gray, Tribeca and SG Hiscock. Equity Trustees has $55 billion under supervision and the corporate trustee division accounts for 35 per cent of its revenue.

Australia-based global equity funds have encountered difficultly in recent years following a series of unexpected developments including Brexit and the US presidential election.

Magellan’s flagship $8.6 billion global fund is underperforming over one and three years while still showing much better results over the longer term

Platinum Asset Management’s flagship International Fund with $10 billion under management has lagged the MSCI All Country World Index over one, three, five and seven years but has performed well over 10 years and since inception.

The global strategies run by Chris Dixon and Allan Goldstein of Cooper Investors have held up well by comparison. While both funds underperformed the MSCI All Country World Index over the 12 months to February 28, their longer-term track records are impressive.

The CI Global Equities fund has outperformed the index by between 299 basis points and 488 basis points over two, three, five, seven, 10 years and since inception in 2004. Established in 2008, the unhedged version of the fund has outperformed by 95 and 242 basis points over two, three, five and seven years.

The global equity strategies were added to Cooper Investors’ suite of funds after the flagship Australian equities fund was launched in 2002. The firm also runs the benchmark-unaware CI Brunswick Fund, the CI Asian Tiger Fund and the most recent addition, the CI Pensions fund which was established in 2014.
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