After spending the past 12 years in senior marketing roles for the investment management sector in the Asia-Pacific region, Nicholas Smith has gone solo with the launch of investment consu
After spending the past 12 years in senior marketing roles for the investment management sector in the Asia-Pacific region, Nicholas Smith has gone solo with the launch of investment consultancy Diversus Investment Advisers, saying that in the future Australian pension funds will be targeting greater investment in alternative assets and strategies.
‘Institutional investment marketing has evolved from product pushing to problem solving,’ said Smith, who says his new endeavour is a comparatively new concept to the region although an established part of the investment industry in the US and Europe.
‘There are a lot of good investment managers out there, but marketing has not been as professional in this region,’ says Smith, whose firm works on both a retainer and ongoing reward-based basis.
‘With Australia representing the fourth biggest pool of pension funds in the world, there is a lot of opportunity for alpha managers that have demonstrated investment skill but have yet to develop a profile in the region.
‘There will always be opportunities in this area because successful managers often reach capacity and any additional funds they raise detract from their overall investment return. Also, investment people may leave and new firms start up.’
Smith says he is focused on investment managers with robust, outperforming strategies looking to build their business in Australia and New Zealand. He is also providing coverage of the institutional investor market in Asia and the Gulf.
His business model is not restricted to selling one type of investment product to one sector, but seeks to work with managers across different asset classes, increasing flexibility and creativity in the role.
‘Australian pension assets need strong investment strategies to improve their return and increase diversification, and this will increasingly be in the alternative asset classes: private equity, hedge funds, real estate,’ he says.
Diversus Investment Advisers received its Australian financial services licence from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in August and Smith already has several major fund managers on his books, including a US-based multi-manager with approximately USD230bn in assets under management and a US-based growth equity manager with USD120bn in assets.
Originally from Perth and now based in Sydney, Smith was previously at Axa Rosenberg. Based in Singapore and Sydney, he led the Asian marketing team that developed the investment management business in Australia from zero to USD4bn assets under management between 1999 and 2006.