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Colonial endorses new investment style

Colonial and First State get together.

Thursday, May 7th 1998, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

Colonial has decided to merge its two fund management businesses to create a group, with about A$16 billion under management, which sticks to a consistent investment approach.
It says Colonial Investment Management (Australia) and First State Fund are being consolidated and the new business will stick to the First State "active, bottom up" investment approach.
Previously First State embraced that philosophy, while CIM took a more traditional middle of the road approach to funds management.

Bruce Abraham, who heads Colonial Investment Management in New Zealand, says the move creates further opportunities for the business to leverage off First State's success.
"First State is unquestionably one of Australia's premier fund managers. Leveraging off their success is a sensible strategy for the Colonial funds management group."
First State last year took over management of Australian equities for Colonial's wholesale business and the retail funds promoted under the Joseph Banks banner.
Abraham says management of its international equity funds will move from CIM in Melbourne to First State.
The move will make it one of the only managers in New Zealand offering a non-regional international fund, he says.
First State's approach to the business is to pick the best countries to invest in, then identify the appropriate stocks. It is not bound by mandate to invest in specific regions only.
Abraham says Colonial's New Zealand operations shifted to the First State style nearly a year ago when its product range was rationalised and revamped. The current move brings the rest of Colonial's funds management operations into line with that move.
"We have developed a number of initiatives over the last year which have positioned our business more in line with the First State approach, most particularly in terms of investment philosophy and process."
He says this move doesn't mean the New Zealand investment team are going to be shifted across the Tasman.
Colonial's view is that it must have a strong local team in the regions it operates in, he says.
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