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Pie Funds targets Europe and the UK from Hawkes Bay

Auckland-based Pie Funds will usher in the New Year with a new branch office in Hawkes Bay and a new growth fund in the UK and Europe.

Tuesday, December 6th 2016, 6:00AM

by Owen Poland

Mike Taylor

Having moved his family to a lifestyle block near Havelock North almost a year ago, Pie founder Mike Taylor says he's on track to open a new office there in January which will hopefully tap into a new client base.

"There's obviously no other fund manager who has an office in the Hawkes Bay so it's a point of difference and we expect that we'll be able to attract a reasonable amount of money from the Hawkes Bay."

However Auckland's North Shore is still very much home base for the business which Taylor started in 2007 and which now has 21 staff, 8 products and $530 million under management.

With regular flights out of Napier, Taylor still spends a significant portion of the week in Auckland and says that in a wired world where phones have become "walking computers" he's always accessible to team members. Besides, he says "I don't have to be standing over them, over every single decision that gets made."

Taylor says he's no different to the likes of Rod Drury running Xero from Havelock North, but research houses like Morningstar tend to keep a watchful eye on company structures and resources.

While there's no "right or wrong answer" when it comes to where fund managers run their business from,  Director of Manager Research at Morningstar, Tim Murphy, says that when looking at selecting managers "we do look at the focus and attention and application, most importantly, on how funds are being run."

Those general principles apply to Morningstar's assessment of Pie's new Growth UK and Europe Fund, their first venture outside Australasia. "Europe is a much bigger, larger universe" says Murphy, "do they have the appropriate resources and focus and expertise to be able to do that successfully?."

But having managed a global fund for the past three years, Taylor says "we're reasonably familiar with international markets" and the UK and Europe Fund is an extension of that. It's also an opportunity to diversify Pie's product range and take advantage of the post-Brexit shift in currency movements. "This is a once in a 15 year opportunity in terms of the cycle, so we're looking to take advantage of that."

The UK and Europe Fund aims to raise $50 million and Taylor says Pie's investment team will "parachute in" four times a year to meet with brokers and conduct company visits. As with Pie's other funds, there'll be a diversified portfolio of up to 15 small cap stocks like Accesso - the highly profitable cutting edge ticketing and queuing technology company that's listed in the UK but derives most of its income from the US.

With Pie's flagship growth fund among Morningstar's top 10 global performers, Taylor is justifiably proud of his investment philosophy. "It's a nine year track record, and it does validate the philosophies through various different market cycles and periods."

Tags: pie funds

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