Team spirit: IML's focus under a new CEO

Investors Mutual Limited (IML) recently appointed CEO Damon Hambly spoke to Industry Moves about what he intends to focus on in the new role.


Investors Mutual Limited (IML) - the funds management business started up by Anton Tagliaferro in 1998 - recently created the new position of chief executive officer and appointed Damon Hambly to the role.

Hambly, who was previously chief executive officer at Natixis Investment Managers, Australia, a majority shareholder in IML, spoke to Industry Moves about what he hopes to focus on in the new role.

What was the rationale for creating the new role?

The CEO role didn't really exist at IML before. Anton has always been the investment director, he'll remain as the investment director, so that won't change. But he was also taking care of the rest of the business, whether it was operations or marketing, and that was something he didn't want to continue focusing on as much.

Anton has obviously been a very successful investor over a 30-plus year period. I enjoy working with him, he is a great personality. I'm just pleased that I can help IML continue its path and really help Anton focus on what he wants to do. He's a very good investor and he's also a good communicator - one of these rare breeds that do both well. But what he really loves doing is investing. So, my role helps him focus more on that, and I get to take care of the other aspects and think about some of the other growth opportunities. It's a nice combination.

It's a natural progression to appoint someone in a CEO role to lead some of the new initiatives that we're looking to do at IML over the coming years, whether it's launching new products - ETFs for example - or launching new global product from Natixis affiliates.

What are you planning on focussing on in the role?

I think about it in terms of three pillars. We have new products within IML capabilities. We may do another product, for example, in the small companies range, ESG or more active ETFs. The second pillar is new global product with Natixis affiliates, we've done one strategy with Loomis Sayles which is now available as both an unlisted managed fund and an active ETF. Over the next couple of years, we might work with another affiliate, or do another product with Loomis Sayles. And, as far as the third growth pillar, there are team lift-outs. We always have teams coming to us and saying, look, you've got this great infrastructure at IML, it's a fully licenced operation, you've got great sales and marketing teams, we'd love to set up with you.

So, when you say team lift outs do you mean incubating funds management businesses?

Yes, it's definitely one of the growth angles we'll look at and that will be one of my focuses. Although, I don't think you're going to wind forward two or three years and see that as a major part of our business.

Do you have people approaching you about these opportunities at the moment?

Yes, that's right. They're attracted to the infrastructure we've got. And some people come to us with products that will be global in nature, so they're also interested in what we might bring in terms of Natixis distribution, not just distribution in Australia. We can provide working capital, seed capital, and the ability for teams to run very autonomously, like IML continues to run autonomously. So, yes, we do have discussions going at the moment, and we have people approach us regularly. I'm trying to put a bit more structure around how we assess those type of opportunities.