Two boutique fund groups, Investec and Ashburton, have noted an increase in mandates from pension funds and government-associated investment vehicles.
Large pension funds, often seen as lumbering and over-cautious, seem unlikely investors in some of the edgier investment houses. Faced, however, with unprecedented volatility in traditional equity and fixed income markets, managers of these behemoths are looking to diversify and gain access to new investment themes.
David Aird, managing director of Investec Fund Managers, says his company has won a mandate from “the biggest investor in the world”.
Ashburton, a Jersey-based asset manager, has noted a similar story, having secured the mandate of a Scandinavian pension fund.
Philip Childs, intermediary sales manager for the group, says the trend is one that is likely to continue as larger fund managers look to increase their flexibility and boost returns.
“I think a lot of people are looking to place mandates with people who are less constrained,” he says. “The fact that the particular manager in question is extremely competent means he is not concerned about moving away from a benchmark, which is a departure from the more rigid institutional investor.”
Boutiques and smaller asset management firms trying to break into a well established industry feel under pressure to perform, says Childs. Once they have a proven track record investors become more comfortable with both the brand and the manager.