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RARE, Charter Hall, Munro lead Zenith award winners


As is the trend this year, Melbourne-based Zenith Investment Partners held their annual Fund Manager of the Year awards online over the weekend. The session was hosted by John Nicoll, Head of Sales, and David Wright, CEO, both presenting remotely.

In what was an incredibly difficult year for the finance industry, Wright stressed the important role that these awards have in acknowledging the excellence in funds management and the pressure it creates for others to strive for better outcomes.

This point couldn’t be more apt than today, following a period in which the divergence in performance between the best and worst managers has never been greater. The theme of the year could well be the ‘ability to adapt’ with those managers able to both identify and adjust to a fast evolving environment quickly delivering the best results to investors.

  • During a period in which the equity market experienced one of its fastest ever falls, followed quickly by its fastest ever recovery, sticking to one’s convictions when they are being proven wrong, or changing course during times of stress could ultimately have resulted in disaster. 

    Wright put it best, noting that “despite the obvious challenges of operating within markets over the last 8-9 months, we’ve seen many managers continue to adapt and thrive to deliver better outcomes to their investors, which is a credit to the industry.”

    The list of award winners is extensive, but we have highlighted some of the most impressive results. The Franklin Templeton-backed RARE Infrastructure took out the Best Infrastructure Manager award, despite facing the most difficult conditions for infrastructure investing in several generations. Core holdings in water utilities and communications infrastructure mean the group is well positioned for the eventual economic recovery.

    In the Real Assets category, Charter Hall Group overcame a strong year from the Australian Unity and Partners Group to take out the award this year. During reporting season, the group announced a 46% increase in operating earnings as assets under management increased 33% to $40.5 billion. Management have used their strong balance sheet to continue to diversify their asset base for investors via acquisitions and continue to deliver solid returns.

    One of the biggest standouts of the year was Munro Partners winning the International Equities Alternatives fund of the year. Nick Griffin’s Global Growth Fund delivering 37% for the 12 months to 30 September, outperforming its benchmark by over 20%. The group benefitted from both long positions in Chinese and American technology names and strong risk managing during the depths of the crisis.

    In the Responsible Investments category, Ausbil Investment Management took away the award. The group has become a leader in the sector, something we highlighted in this article following the Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) debacle in which Ausbil has been one of the few sellers.

    Ultimately, Pendal, previously known as BT Funds Management, took out the Fund Manager of the Year Award. They also took out the Australian Fixed Interest Category and earned multiple other nominations. Zenith were positive on the group’s evolution post-Westpac, highlighting the ‘quality of product suite’ and ‘consistency of ratings overtime’ for key reasons behind the decision.

    A full list of the award winners follows:

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