The new fund is set to be managed by Phillip Hudak and Matt Griffin following their appointments to the fund manager this past April.
Sophia Rahmani, CEO and managing director at Maple-Brown Abbott, said the fund is based on “the expertise, philosophy, and investment approach of two experienced Australian small caps investors,” previously managing the AMP Capital Australian Emerging Companies strategy.
Ms Rahmani emphasised Mr Hudak and Mr Griffin’s “impressive track record” and “compelling earnings-based philosophy”, saying they have the ability to integrate a sustainability focus that “differentiates the strategy,” while also having a “proven and repeatable” investment process based on fundamental in-depth research.
“Judging by the early market feedback, history of the team and capacity limits of small caps strategies, we expect this will be a popular offering for institutional and wholesale clients,” Ms Rahmani said.
“The fund further diversifies Maple-Brown Abbott’s offering to investors, and we have seen early interest in a small caps strategy run as a boutique within Maple-Brown Abbott.”
Mr Hudak said he and Mr Griffin are “passionate” about finding undervalued small companies in Australia with “idiosyncratic exposures,” and have worked diligently with the support of the broader Maple-Brown team to quickly launch the fund.
“We are excited to be able to do what we love in our new home at Maple-Brown Abbott,” he said.
“The new fund is based on our existing strategy and core philosophy that earnings drive share prices rather than on any particular investment style. We consider the valuation and where the company is in the earnings cycle. We believe this combined with our focus on sustainability and avoiding short-term downgrades can deliver consistent returns.”
Mr Griffin added that it’s an exciting time to be launching an Australian small caps fund due to the opportunities presented by recent market volatility, which are creating “more attractive entry points for companies with strong medium-term earnings expectations and sustainable business models”.
“The team is highly aligned to client goals through a competitive remuneration framework and each team member having invested into the strategy,” Mr Griffin said.
“We focus on non-consensus and proprietary insights and expect to hold over 1,000 company-related meetings per year, including management meetings, site visits, industry expert panels and ESG meetings.”
With the introduction of this new fund, Maple-Brown Abbott have broadened its offerings from three investment strategies (broad-cap Australian value equities, Asia-Pacific equities and global listed infrastructure) to five including global emerging markets in just over a year.
Ms Rahmani added that as a privately owned boutique investment manager with “a long history of strong client alignment and quality investment capabilities”, they can address solutions for their clients through their strategies.
“We believe the launch of our Australian Small Companies Fund is a good example of this,” Ms Rahmani concluded.