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Ramius ties up with Australia's Perpetual IM to manage customized fund of funds

Thursday, April 08, 2010
Opalesque Industry Update – Ramius, the global alternative investment management business of New York-based investment bank Cowen Group, and Perpetual Investment Management, Australia’s largest investment services group, announced yesterday that they were entering into a partnership.

Under this partnership, Ramius will work with Perpetual’s Multi Manager Group to manage two separate customized funds of funds products (the Defensive Alternatives Fund and the Growth Alternatives Fund). These two funds are specifically designed to complement two multi-asset alternatives portfolios and they invest in a range of alternative strategies including private equity, private real estate, infrastructure, specialist credit and hedge funds.

Some may see this tie-up as a crucial step taken by the hedge fund industry to tap into the Australian superannuation market, because the percentage of the Australian pension fund assets invested in hedge funds is still very low compared with other western nations. Therefore, for fund managers beyond Aussie shores, this down-under resource-rich country holds a significant and largely untapped pool of potential assets.

In the recent Opalesque Roundtable conference held in Sydney (here), we learnt that each employee contributes a minimum of 9% of his/her salary into a registered superannuation (pension) fund, a requirement that continues to fuel the Australian $1.2tln pension asset base that is currently the world’s fifth largest, and rapidly increasing.

Thomas W. Strauss, CEO of Ramius, told the Financial Times: “The superannuation business in Australia is one that is going to grow significantly.”

Of that gigantic superannuation industry, the new self-managed super funds (SMSFs) segment is the fastest growing one, cutting out a meaty one-third share of total assets in the superannuation pool (see Opalesque exclusive here).

Overall, the Aussie hedge fund scenario is slightly dim, being under the influence of consultants and gatekeepers, which makes fund raising challenging. Owing to small fund sizes ($100m or $150m), these consultants are not too keen to advise clients on investing here. Even, many institutional investors choose not to take the unnecessary operational risks of investing in Aussie small, local managers.

However, this new Australian-American partnership has driven some enthusiasm into the otherwise silent Aussie markets. Ramius CEO, Strauss said about being selected by Perpetual: “our partnership with Perpetual further validates the model that Ramius has established as a sophisticated global hedge fund investment platform that has the team, experience, infrastructure and investment processes in place to deliver value-added intellectual capital to sophisticated institutional clients like Perpetual.”

With offices in New York, London and Munich, Ramius Alternative Solutions offers a range of hedge fund investment and advisory solutions, including customized and commingled fund of funds, portfolio completion, portfolio hedging, and hedge fund replication services to a global institutional client base.

Ramius will be represented in Australia by Damien Hatfield of Triple A. Hatfield, the founder of Hatfield Advisors, a third-party marketer and researcher of alternative products, entered into a joint venture agreement with Asia-based seeder and distributor Triple A Partners in December-09, to develop their combined fund distributions business on a global basis (see our latest article on Triple A: Opalesque Exclusive: Fund allocation to Asia still low from non-Asian investors but locals are raising their share of allocation, says Paul Smith here).

Damien Webb, Head of Multi Manager at Perpetual, said that partnering with Ramius would create significant benefits and opportunities for the group’s alternative investments funds to meet the investment objectives of its clients.

Perpetual is one of Australia’s top 100 companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. The group offers a broad range of products for personal investment, superannuation and retirement as well as corporate funds management. It manages investment funds exceeding $29bn, administer over $222bn of client funds, and advise clients on over $8.1bn of investments (as of 31-Dec-09).

– Chakraverty & Gravrand -

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