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Pikoulas heads for greener pastures


Pikoulas departs Lipman Burgon as Pengana hires for high conviction.

Covid-19 movement restrictions don’t appear to have restricted much job movement this week, with Alex Pikoulas amicably leaving his role as chief investment officer of high-net-worth boutique Lipman Burgon. It’s understood that Pikoulas will be joining Harper Bernays – which bills itself as “One of Australia’s oldest and most discreet investment management firms” – as executive director. The role includes company management alongside its founder, Peter Harper, as well as funds management oversight and client relations. Pikoulas will also be joining the board.

Pikoulas joined Lipman Burgon as portfolio manager in 2018 after a long and storied career at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bennelong, and Deutsche. Prior to his stint at Lipman Burgon, he spent 12 years in equity sales at J.P. Morgan.

“We are well advanced in our search for a new CIO, and until the appointment decision is made, Paul Burgon has stepped into the role of interim CIO,” Lipman Burgon told this masthead. “We wish Alex the very best in the next chapter of his career and thank him for his contribution.”

Meanwhile, Pengana has nabbed Avoca Investment management CIO and co-founder Jeremy Bendeich as a portfolio manager for its High Conviction Equities Fund. The fund is a “concentrated, ethically screened portfolio” that holds no more than 20 Australian and global companies at any time, and is managed by James McDonald. Bendeich was previously portfolio manager for the UBS Australian Small Companies Fund, prior to which he was a small caps and infrastructure analyst at Colonial First State.

“Jeremy has 26 years of investing experience, looking predominantly at small and emerging companies, across all market cycles,” McDonald said. “Whilst this has been largely in an Australian context, we believe that Jeremy’s skills as an investor are more relevant than a particular background in international investing, especially given the breadth of the market with 10,000 companies in our investable universe.”

In other Pengana news, IA sister publication “Investor Strategy News” recently revealed that former Pengana star stock pickers Jordan Cvetanovski and Steven Glass, who left the company earlier this year, had started their own venture: Pella Funds Management.

Elsewhere, HUB24 has taken the opportunity to strengthen its board with the appointment of Westpac veteran Cathy Kovacs as a non-executive director. Kovacs was group head of business development at Westpac from 2015 to 2019 and head of equities at BT before. She’s also held distribution roles at Ellerston and was division director of Macquarie’s equity markets group.

“Cathy’s broad executive experience in fintech, business strategy and growth, and investments including M&A, further strengthens and expands the board skillset and supports our commitment to diversity,” said Bruce Higgins, HUB24 chairman. “I look forward to Cathy’s contribution as a director of HUB24.”

The appointment comes as HUB24 sees another record quarter, with net inflows of $3.9 billion. Macquarie said that while flow momentum was “likely to persist”, they downgraded the stock to neutral on the basis that it was now trading broadly in line with its price target and due to some uncertainty around FY21 earnings. For more on HUB24’s fortunes, there’s a great piece on the wider platforms space by my colleague Ishan Dan at sister publication “The Inside Investor”.

High net worth boutique Minchin Moore has also boosted its adviser team with the appointment of former Macquarie private banker Renée Condylis.

“Renee brings with her a deep appreciation of the benefits of holistic financial advice as well as an in depth understanding of investment management,” said Minchin Moore partner Cathryn Gross. “We think this is the perfect combination of skills to make her an invaluable member of our team and an absolute asset for our clients.”

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