RETAIL investment funds managed by the listed fund management group EquitiLink Ltd has emerged as the second-largest group of shareholders in the recently floated Bank of Western Australia Ltd, with 7.5 million shares or 1.72 per cent of the bank’s issued capital. EquitiLink said yesterday it had acquired the shares for four of its domestic retail funds – SafeLink, which invests only in listed bank shares and cash, GrowthLink, IncomeLink and SuperTrust – and the First Australia Fund, a closed-end fund offered to US investors. SafeLink had about 7 per cent of its portfolio in BankWest shares, while other funds had between 3 per cent and 5 per cent, EquitiLink said. A joint managing director of EquitiLink, Laurence Freedman, said the company had secured an initial allocation of about 700,000 shares at the float price of $2.05. The remainder had been purchased for between $2.50 and $2.55, with “an average price in the low $2.50s”. Bank of Scotland is the largest shareholder in BankWest.