Australian asset manager liquidates funds on market fears

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An Australian asset manager has liquidated all its equity funds and returned cash to investors on fears of a major market correction.

Altair Asset Management will return “hundreds of millions” to clients, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

An impending domestic property market “calamity” was the most immediate concern as well as the overvalued Australian stock market.

The asset manager also raised concerns about risks further afield, such as China’s property sector and escalating debt levels, geopolitical risks and an “unpredictable” US political environment.

Chairman and chief investment officer Philip Parker, a 30-year veteran of the fund management industry, denies other factors came into play in the decision, saying the asset manager has sold out all of positions at “huge” profits for clients.

“Giving up management and performance fees and handing back cash from investments managed by us is a seminal decision, however preserving client’s assets is what all fund managers should put before their own interests,” Parker says.

Parker warns the S&P/ASX 200 index could fall as low as 5,200 points having neared 6,000 earlier in the month.