05/08/2022 - 16:19

Seaside attraction for fund managers

05/08/2022 - 16:19

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Cottesloe is home base for many in the investment world.

Seaside attraction for fund managers
The high street for a host of major fund managers.

COTTESLOE’S status as the key hub of Western Australia’s boutique investment management sector has been raised with the arrival of several major fund managers.

Katana Capital, Spitfire Family Office, Fiftyone Capital and Merchant Funds are some of the newer residents of the suburb but there are other arrivals in recent years, such as Endeavor Asset Management and Nero Resource Fund, which added to the weight of capital in the suburb.

In terms of asset management, the seaside suburb was initially the home of several leading family offices, notably the late Michael Wright’s VOC Group, which invested iron ore royalties flowing from deals made by his father, Peter Wright, business partner of Lang Hancock.

AMB Holdings, the investment vehicle of Michael Wright’s sister, Angela Bennett, was located a stone’s throw away in Peppermint Grove but is now based in Subiaco.

The passing of Mr Wright has split VOC’s distribution, although his daughter, Alexandra Burt still has her Landsmith Collection there.

Also based in the suburb were investment bases of two of the late John Roberts’ three children, who inherited fortunes made through construction company Multiplex.

DR Capital, owned by Denby Roberts, and Warburton Group, owned by Tim Roberts, both keep addresses in Station Street.

Slightly different from the family offices, was Willy Packer’s Packer & Co, which has amassed about $1.9 billion since the mid-1990s through the management of a single investment vehicle, the Packer & Co Investigator Trust, a widely held public unit trust which is able to invest in a broad spectrum of asset classes throughout the world.

Business News flagged the attraction of Cottesloe to a new wave of specialist fund managers almost 10 years ago, although some of those then emerging funds seem to have disappeared.

Nevertheless, the trend remained. In the past decade the weight of money has shifted ever more significantly into Cottesloe, especially in public funds management, with an additional $1 billion or more in funds management calling the suburb home.

Regarding family offices, new arrivals such as Laurence Escalante's Lance East Office, and Spitfire Family Office which it is understood to manage it, may not have fully made up for some of those very big players that have moved.

Mr Escalante is thought to be worth $3 billion.

Katana Capital, a fund manager with nearly $100 million, has relocated to the epicentre of this alternative financial centre.

It shares an address in Forrest Street with Craig Burton’s Verona Capital.

Endeavor Asset Management established a Cottesloe office, effectively becoming the head office for the Melbourne-founded business, which had been acquired through a management buyout led by managing director Hayden Beamish backed by Fiftyone Capital.

Endeavor manages about $350 million.

Fiftyone Capital has taken residence in the former home of VOC Group, which appears to have moved out, although Ms Burt still owns the building and her Landsmith Collection of assets appears to be based there.

Fiftyone Capital is understood to have been an early investor in VGW, founded by Mr Escalante whose family office Lance East Office is co-located with Spitire in Cottesloe Central, which is technically in Peppermint Grove.

On Napoleon Street, Nero Resource Fund, with about $160 million under management, is run by Russell Delroy from the agribusiness Delroy family.

He is from a different branch of the family from Neil and Ian Delroy, who have made a fortune from agribusiness enterprises such as avocado giant Jasper Farms.

Those Delroys have established Agati Capital out of a Busselton address, although its new CEO, Stacy Holmnas, is understood to be based somewhere in Perth.

Also on Forrest Street is Malaysia-based Wen family’s Perth office, which controls about $1.5 billion, including the retail and office empire Hawaiian.

Something of a nearby outlier is the Stirling Highway-headquartered 3F Asset Management, an agribusiness-related fund manager.

Further up the highway, just on the very edge of Cottesloe, Merchant Funds has taken residence with its estimated $440 million in funds under management.

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