Predicting what will be in demand in the future November 2020


Funds management veteran Richard Borysiewicz started his own funds management distribution business in February and has just signed up his third fund manager – Asian private equity manager Lion Global Investors. He spoke to Industry Moves about why he believes there will be a greater tilt to private markets in the future and shared some of the trials and tribulations of being a start up.

Why did you start up Strathnaver Capital?

I made a decision in the back half of last year to do this. So I applied for my ASIC license late last year and when it came through in February that's when I resigned and signed my first agreement with [emerging market equity manager] Somerset Capital in London.

They were conversations I’d started towards the back end of last year. Some of these things have taken a while and COVID-19 has made it more difficult. I’ve met all of [my managers] face to face but the final decisions were all done by Zoom.

What goes into creating a partnership with a fund manager like Lion Global Investors?

Lion Global Investors are one of the largest investment managers in Asia with a deep presence across the region. They have seen strong growth in recent years. Our partnership is based on shared objectives and both of us being culturally aligned.

In a previous role I had a strong relationship with the Corporate Finance team at OCBC (parent firm of Lion Global Investors). This past history made it easier for both of us.

Do you think there are enough private equity opportunities accessible to Australian investors?

Private markets are now more in focus than before. The search for non-correlated alpha, particularly in the high growth economies of Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and China), are very attractive. Accessing these opportunities via Lion Global Investors’ regional footprint and strong parentage (OCBC) will be well regarded by investors.

There is availability of private equity in Australia but I think not Asian private equity and not where you've got resources and boots on the ground where you are seeking to source these transactions.

What is next for Strathnaver Capital?

Strathnaver Capital currently represents three offshore investment managers - Lion Global Investors in Singapore (currently focused on the private equity teams’ Lion-OCBC Capital Asia Fund II), Somerset Capital in London (managers of emerging market equities), and Muzinich & Co in New York (managers of corporate credit strategies across developed and emerging public and private markets).

They are all different. They all complement each other and they are all asset classes that are going to be successful and in the demand in the future as we see a greater tilt to private markets.

Each of those managers are well regarded and to varying degrees known to the institutional market in Australia. In the case of Muzinich they have been successful on a fly in and fly out basis already. And Somerset has been in Australia off and on over the last few years.

My objective is to focus on these partnerships and create value for them and for local institutions in Australia.

What has been the biggest surprise about starting your own business?

I knew this would be an issue but when it happens you go ‘oh wow’. When you work in a large organisation you've got different parts of the organisation doing different things for you. Here you have to do everything yourself. You have to be very good at managing your time. You have to find the balance between admin and actual real work and I don't think I’ve got that right yet, particularly as two out of the three investment partners are in other time zones. I’ve pulled some late night meetings and I will continue to pull late night meetings as I’ve got to tap into their working hours.

Where did the name come from?

I wanted something with meaning and SS Strathnaver is the name of the ship my father came to Australia on as a Polish soldier migrant at the end of World War II in 1948. SS Strathnaver did three trips full of Polish soldier migrants who came to Australia and built infrastructure like the snowy mountain scheme.

For me it meant new beginnings and for my offshore partners it was about coming to Australia and I thought it made really good sense.

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