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Blackwattle Recruited Talent from Antipodes to Kickstart its Global Fund Strategy

A team of analysts from the global fund manager Antipodes has been recruited by Blackwattle Investment Partners to launch its first global equities strategy, adding to the new firm’s existing portfolio of five Australian sharemarket funds. Among the four new hires are Sunny Bangia, co-founder and portfolio manager at Antipodes, marking the latest expansion for the asset management startup as it targets the lucrative global equities market.

“In the global equities realm, there’s a common perception that bigger is better, but in reality, larger managers often underperform compared to smaller niche managers,” stated Mr. Bangia to The Australian Financial Review.

Joining Mr. Bangia at Blackwattle are senior analysts Edward Li and Nicholas Tan, as well as trader Isaac Boorer, all of whom previously held positions at Antipodes. Antipodes, established in 2015, manages nearly $10 billion in assets.

The team will oversee a high-conviction portfolio comprised of quality stocks, with investments in approximately 20 to 35 companies. The primary aim is to achieve annualized returns of at least 8 to 12 percent.

Following an eight-year tenure at Antipodes, Mr. Bangia expressed a desire for greater control over his professional path, noting his departure from Antipodes was amicable. However, his career post-Antipodes faced an initial setback. He joined PAC Capital, enticed by the promise of seed capital. Unfortunately, PAC, established by Clayton Larcombe, became entangled in a governance controversy, prompting Mr. Bangia to depart within three weeks of joining the firm.

Regarding his brief stint at PAC, Mr. Bangia remarked, “The governance issues – whether they’re substantiated or not, I’m not entirely certain – but it wasn’t a suitable fit for me. I felt sufficiently uneasy to discontinue.”

Mr. Bangia, a co-founder of Antipodes, played a pivotal role in its emergence as one of the most successful global equities fund launches in the past decade, back in 2015.

Pinnacle Investment Management, backed by former Platinum Asset Management deputy chief investment officer Jacob Mitchell, supported Antipodes, acquiring a 24 percent stake. Under Mitchell’s leadership, Antipodes experienced remarkable growth, scaling assets from $200 million to over $10 billion.

However, despite its initial success, Antipodes’ primary global strategy struggled to outperform the market over a five-year period.

According to Blackwattle partner Michael Skinner, the decision to bring Mr. Bangia and his team on board followed meticulous deliberation. Skinner revealed that the firm evaluated over 30 management teams across various asset classes, engaging in extensive discussions before finalizing the recruitment of Mr. Bangia and his team. Their objective is to capitalize on the underwhelming performance of industry giants like Magellan and Platinum, both of which have faced challenges in retaining assets.

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