Aware Super exec joins boutique

Tim Riordan
Blackwattle - Portfolio Manager - Mid-caps
Date: 23 May 2023
Position: Portfolio Manager - Mid-caps
By Elizabeth Fry

A few months after Aware Super head of direct equities and portfolio manager Tim Riordan quit the superannuation fund he turned up at the newly launched Blackwattle Investments Partners.

Riordan and Michael Teran will run  Blackwattle's mid-cap fund, having both previously managed a $2.2 billion similar fund for over five years at Aware Super.

Blackwattle has three other offerings. The long short and large-cap funds will be managed by Ray David and Joe Koh, who joined from Schroders Australia.

Finally, Robert Hawkesford and Daniel Broeren will oversee the small-cap fund, arriving from Ellerston and Watermark, respectively.

Riordan was drawn to Blackwattle because the new fund has structured a strong alignment between investment professionals and their clients.

"The new role will enable me to spend more time focusing on quality, the core driver of our process and portfolios to maximise returns," he said when he left Aware in March.

"Alignment and incentives are key to the successful execution of strategy, and the structures in this role are about as aligned as it gets in funds management, so the focus on returns for clients is as sharp as possible.

"We are building a new generation asset management business where each of us is a partner and owner. We are aligned with each other through shared ownership of the company, material personal investment into our own funds alongside clients, no personal trading and ongoing reinvestment of profits into the company and our funds."

Indeed, Blackwattle managing director and chief investment officer Michael Skinner confirmed the firm had "flipped the traditional model and removed the key person risk" by investing alongside clients and investors.

"We don't believe in a concentrated leadership style; everyone is a meaningful equity owner and we are all partners together," he said.

"We invest alongside our investors and clients, with personal capital committed and corporate profits reinvested into our portfolios; there is no personal trading.

"Having such significant 'skin in the game' means we are 100 per cent aligned to the common interest of our clients, which is uncommon in the Australian funds management industry".

"We will always invest alongside our clients in our portfolios," he said."We will be the most aligned fund manager in the country."

The leadership team comprises Skinner, who partnered with Jarred Rubin, ex-Citi equity sales director who is chief executive; Matthew Dell, former Pinnacle distribution director, who brings over 25 years' experience to the role of executive director; and Maggie Mills, former head of investment sales at Zurich who steps in as head of distribution.

Blackwattle said it will focus on small and efficient teams with a track record of delivering strong returns.

"In cherry-picking the team, we have not only looked for outstanding investment capability but also making sure we have the right cultural fit", added Rubin.

"We're taking all the good elements of investment funds management to create a better way of investing."