16/01/2008 - 22:00

Patersons fund Pilbara play

16/01/2008 - 22:00

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Perth-based Patersons Securities Ltd is set to launch a resources-focused fund, the second product for the fledgling asset management business launched late last year.

Patersons fund Pilbara play

Perth-based Patersons Securities Ltd is set to launch a resources-focused fund, the second product for the fledgling asset management business launched late last year.

Called the Pilbara Growth Listed Equities Sub-Trust, the new product is quite different from the very mainstream 80:20 fund the firm launched late last year, and is pitched at an offshore audience.

Named because the Pilbara is a reference point for resources among Asian and Middle Eastern investors, the fund will offer exposure to listed companies based or operating in the Western Australian resources and energy sectors, or providing services to those sectors.

Tony Fitzgerald, CEO of the Cayman Islands-domiciled Pilbara fund, said there was a lot of familiarity with the Pilbara in North Asia, especially the region’s track record as a resources centre.

“There is a lot of interest in WA but the mechanisms to take a position here are quite difficult,” he said.

Investment management for the new trust and the 80:20 fund, which is initially focused at retail investors and is already nearing the end of initial marketing phase, is to be led by longterm Patersons broker Murray McGill.

Mr McGill is one of the state’s best known brokers, having been with Patersons since 1988, joining the board in 1992 and currently head of its individual managed account operations. He is also the third biggest stakeholder in the brokerage.

Mr Fitzgerald, is a commercial lawyer with a recent background in technology business, said his appointment reflected two needs for a fund that would be marketed offshore.

“I have done a lot of work in offshore capital markets,” he said.

“I had an investor network and I knew people in those areas.”

On top of that, understanding the tax and compliance complexities of foreign jurisdictions was also important, he said.

Mr Fitzgerald’s most recent public foray was as executive chairman of Advanced Ocular Systems Ltd, which was previously Regenera Ltd.

Before that he was involved with several other listed companies, including: managing director of biotechnology company Resonance Health Ltd, which was previously called GEO2 Ltd; CEO of listed healthcare group Inovax Ltd; and a founding executive of Western Capital Ltd, which bought the Cortecs Group plc.

Mr Fitzgerald was also involved in the wine industry as a director of Southern Wine Corporation Ltd, the original company behind the ill-fated Preston Vale Vineyard project near Donnybrook.

The new funds are part of the business being assembled by Patersons Asset Management managing director Howard Knight, who has returned to Perth after almost two decades offshore working with some of the bluechip names of global finance, mainly based in Singapore.

Involved in a successful hedge fund operation with UBS, he later helped Lehman Brothers develop a broader investment management business in the Asia Pacific region.

Mr Knight, who has acquired more than 4 per cent of Patersons Securities and 10 per cent of Patersons Asset Management, said the differences between the Pilbara and 80:20 funds were deliberate, and funds the group planned to launch would be  very different from each other.

He said he also had plans for a private equity version of the Pilbara fund.

“By mid year we should have at least four operating funds,” Mr Knight said.

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