What Attracted Ascalon/Westpac To Seed Morphic And Its Adaptive Global Equity Strategies

What Attracted Ascalon/Westpac To Seed Morphic And Its Adaptive Global Equity Strategies

In August 2014, Ascalon Capital Managers, the boutique asset manager investment arm of BT Financial Group (a wholly owned subsidiary of Westpac Banking Corporation), acquired a 35% minority stake in Sydney based Morphic Asset Management. Ascalon also invested $30m in Morphic’s global long/short hedge fund.

What Attracted Ascalon/Westpac To Seed Morphic And Its Adaptive Global Equity Strategies

The Morphic Global Opportunities Fund was launched in August 2012 by long term colleagues at asset manager Hunter Hall, Jack Lowenstein and Chad Slater. Lowenstein had been Deputy CIO and Deputy Chairman at Hunter Hall before his departure in late 2011, after 13 years with the firm. When Lowenstein joined Hunter Hall in 1997 it had $13m in Funds Under Management which he helped build to a peak of nearly $3 billion. As Deputy CIO Lowenstein managed the largest tranche of the group’s FUM and presided over risk management and portfolio construction. Slater was at Hunter Hall from 2007 to 2012, as a Portfolio Manager, and Head of Currency and Macroeconomics. The duo achieved an outstanding track record at Hunter Hall, and already now Morphic is one of Australia’s best performing hedge funds and global equity managers. Backed by well credentialed board of five highly respected independent directors, the firm aims to have “public company level governance”.

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Morphic applies “adaptive” global equity strategies with macro overlays, therefore investing primarily in equities, but also in rates, bonds, commodities. The managers and their team believe their edge is in being flexible instead of style-biased: “Different things work at different times in different places.” Morphic is also successful in raising assets from RIAs, addressing the mentality of the majority of Australian invests who prefer managers who can protect on the downside, but also “capture the full upside”.

In this Opalesque.TV BACKSTAGE video, Jack Lowenstein talks about:

  • Morphic’s adaptive global equity strategies
  • How to get seeding / incubation money from an institutional investor
  • How “Mr Value and Mr Momentum” can best party together
  • Morphic’s investment process, risk management and trade examples
  • How to operate within tight risk limits, but without impacting returns
  • Investment Outlook: Risks & Opportunities

Jack Lowenstein is Joint CIO and Managing Director of Morphic Asset Management. Before that he was Deputy Chief Investment Officer at Hunter Hall, responsible for risk management and portfolio construction, from 1998-2011. He joined Hunter Hall when it had just $13m under management and played a key role in building it to a peak of just under $3 billion in FUM. In ten years as a Portfolio Manager with Hunter Hall, he generated substantial out-performance. Jack is also non-executive director of Calliden Group Limited, a general insurance company listed on the ASX. He has a BA and MA from Oxford University and had careers in corporate finance and as an international financial journalist prior to joining Hunter Hall.

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