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Walker Capital moves into retail

By Philip Macalister

Tuesday 8th February 2005

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Boutique investment manager Walker Capital Management is branching out from its wholesale base and is planning to offer a trans-Tasman fund to retail investors.

The company is headed by former AMP Henderson (now AMP Capital) equity manager Stephen Walker.

Walker says the fund has a "total return" focus and it aims to generate gross returns that average more than 15% gross over rolling five-year periods.

He says the fund lines up against offerings from ING, Goldman Sachs JB Were and Fisher Funds Management. (Interestingly enough Walker's fund already competes with ING as it is on the menu of the ING PPS master fund).

Walker used to put the fund under the absolute return style label, but has gone away from that because there are too many "preconceived ideas" about what it means.

Nowadays the Walker uses "Research Selection" as the name to explain the style.

Walker says there were two main reasons for going retail. One was that the company was doing a wholesale fund and making a retail version wasn't hard to do.

Secondly there has been some interest from financial planners for this type of fund. "There are a number of people interested in using our fund, but they didn't have the $1 million minimum which was required in the past."

Walker says retail is an area they company wanted to get into. He says the fund will be profitable as it will have wholesale money in it too.

Walker says besides the "total return" focus the fund was also attractive because it has performance fees. It has a 1% management fee and WCM earns 10% of all returns in excess of the fund's performance benchmark, the NZSX 50 portfolio index.

He says he has been a pioneer in the performance fee area and total return area.

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