AustralianSuper hires Blue Orbit co-founder

Megan Talmage
AustralianSuper - Portfolio Manager -Portf Construction and Strategy
Date: 17 May 2023
Position: Portfolio Manager -Portf Construction and Strategy
By Elizabeth Fry

AustralianSuper hires Blue Orbit co-founder as the fledgling asset manager winds down operations and liquidates assets.

The $260 billion superannuation fund has added Megan Talmage to its equities team as portfolio manager of portfolio construction and strategy.

At Blue Orbit, she was co-founder, executive director and portfolio manager.

For five years, she ran portfolio construction and implementation, trade execution and analysis, and research for the Blue Orbit Australian Small Cap Systematic Equities Fund and the Blue Orbit Global Small Cap Systematic Equities Fund.

The Melbourne-based boutique small-cap fund manager was formed in 2018 by Talmage and two colleagues from IFM Investors -  Adam Randall and Julie Andrews.

Randall was forced to officially warn the market that the funds had failed to find investor support.

"After five years of hard work, real innovation, and a roller coaster ride of emotion, we are now selling/closing down Blue Orbit," he said.

"The performance of our global small caps fund was very good - excellent versus most of our peers globally - but we were simply unable to raise enough funds.

"Both the global and Australian small caps funds are now closed. We are in discussion with several groups, both local and offshore, who are interested in acquiring the global small-caps strategy."

Randall noted that Talmage was instrumental in setting up the business, the operations, AFSL, managing the portfolios and played a big part in developing the global small-caps strategy.

"Megan is also great fun to work with. As a co-founder of a startup, she has learnt an amazing amount in a few years. I do not doubt that she will be very successful in anything she puts her mind to."

Back in 2009, Talmage was an institutional equities trader specialising in small and micro-cap Australian equities at Patersons Securities.
After four years there, she joined IOOF QuantPlus where she managed factor-based strategies with FX hedging overlays.

In 2014, she joined Randall at IFM as the primary portfolio manager and trader for the global optimised index strategies and co-managed the Australian small caps portfolio.

Blue Orbit saw the departure of operations chief Lewis Bearman a few months ago.

Bearman joined Blue Orbit almost three years ago, jumping from Prodigy Investment Partners, where he carried out a similar role but served as an executive director.

He worked at Prodigy for around five years after an eleven-year stint at multi-boutique firm Perennial Investment Partners, where he most recently served as chief executive.

Before that, Bearman spent 17 years at Invesco Australia as chief operating officer.