Professional Planner and Zenith Investment Partners today revealed the winners of the 2015 Fund Awards. At an awards event at Ivy Ballroom in Sydney this afternoon, attended by more than 300 of the retail fund management industry’s leading participants, Magellan Asset Management was named as Fund Manager of the Year.

The award was accepted by Magellan’s general manager of distribution Frank Casarotti (on the left in the picture) and presented by Zenith Investment Partners managing partner and co-founder David Smythe (on the right in the picture).

Award winners were also announced in 16 other categories (see table), including Distributor of the Year, which this year was taken out by Fidante Partners.

The managing director of Zenith, David Wright, says being named Fund Manager of the year “denotes, as you know from our methodology and philosophy, excellence in the management of multiple asset classes and/or capabilities”. “That’s pretty difficult to achieve in this day and age, where across individual categories it is so competitive,” Wright says.

“It is just recognition for the ability to do that in more than one asset class.”

Wright says competition in funds management is increasing and “it’s got to the stage where unless you are competitive, you’re just not going to survive”.

“There’s more that can be said about the polarisation of the industry into large and boutique and it’s pretty difficult to be in the middle,” he says.

“But as a general comment it’s definitely becoming more competitive in the majority of asset classes.”

Stop, review, reflect

David Wright

Wright (pictured, left) says the annual fund awards provide an opportunity to “stop, review and reflect on the past year” outside of Zenith’s regular review-and-monitoring cycle of fund managers.

“It’s actually a really good discipline to have, because yes, especially with the growth asset classes, we’re looking at managers with a medium- to longer-term view, but given the annual nature of the awards it’s healthy to revisit and say, OK, are these guys on track for the medium- and longer-term view, and how have they done over the past year?” Wright says.

“It’s healthy and a really good discipline to be able to look at it in that light. You’ve got the responsibility that for both the nominees and the winners, hopefully this is a positive influence on their business; but it’s a responsibility that we take really seriously and a lot of the decisions are really difficult ones.”

Wright says Zenith’s methodology is robust and is proven, and past winners of the awards have shown themselves to have good long-term track records.

However, he stresses that the Professional Planner|Zenith Fund Awards are not intended as a definitive guide to next year’s likely best-performing funds or managers.

Financial planners and advisers “should avoid concluding that it is just a short-term award”, he says.

“There certainly is a reflection, given the annual nature of it, of how they have done over the past 12 months,” he says.

“But much more than that you’re looking at the sustainability of the team and process and the ability to meet objectives.

“An adviser should have great confidence in the detail and rigour that we’ve gone to, to identify the nominees and from those nominees identify a winner.”

The verdict

Fund Manager of the Year: Magellan Asset Management
Zenith says:
Magellan Asset Management was an award nominee in three categories, including global equities; exchange-traded funds (ETFs); and infrastructure, where they were the award winner. Magellan continues to be an investor’s favourite for global equities, where it continues to produce strong performance. Magellan has also been at the forefront of product innovation with the launch of their actively managed listed investment vehicle, nominated in the ETF category. Zenith notes Magellan’s outstanding investment capabilities, depth of resources and high calibre, highly experienced investment teams across multiple asset classes. As such, we believe Magellan is a deserved winner of this year’s Fund Manager of the Year Award.

Full coverage of the Professional Planner|Zenith Fund Awards will appear in the November 2015 edition of Professional Planner magazine and online at the Professional Planner website.

Fund category Winner
Australian real estate investment trusts (AREITs) Cromwell Funds Management
Global real estate investment trusts (Global REITs) Resolution Capital
Direct property AMP Capital
Infrastructure Magellan Asset Management
Global and diversified fixed interest Legg Mason/Brandywine Global Investment Management
Australian fixed interest PIMCO Australia
Exchange-traded funds State Street Global Advisors
Listed investment companies Wilson Asset Management
Alternative strategies (including commodity trading accounts (CTA)/macro; multi-strategy; fund-of-hedge-fund (FoHF); agribusiness; commodities; private equity; other) AQR Capital Management
Multi-asset – diversified UBS Global Asset Management
Multi-asset – real return Schroder Investment Management Australia
International equities – emerging markets and regional Macquarie Investment Management (Macquarie Asia New Stars No 1 Fund)
International equities – alternative strategies (including long/short global; long/short regional; income overlay (options)) PM Capital
International equities – global Arrowstreet Capital/Macquarie Professional Series
Australian equities – alternative strategies (including long/short; income overlay (options)) Perpetual Investment Management
Australian equities – small cap NovaPort Capital
Australian equities – large cap Bennelong Australian Equity Partners
Distributor of the Year Fidante Partners
Fund Manager of the Year Magellan Asset Management
Source: Zenith Investment Partners


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