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Hyperion scoops the pool… almost

Mark Arnold and Jason Orthman stood at the podium to collect three awards at last Friday (Feb 26) afternoon’s annual Morningstar funds awards, including the main prize, that of Fund Manager of the Year.

But they didn’t quite scoop the pool. They were on stage four times but had to make way for T.Rowe Price in the best global equities manager category. Arnold, Hyperion Asset Management’s CIO, said afterwards that he thought his team had been a good chance to get the global award too, given very strong performance last year.

Nevertheless, the pair – Arnold and deputy CIO Orthman – had good reason to be happy, as did their clients. Performance played a big part in their awards, which Arnold mentioned each time he was handed the microphone.

Accepting the first award, for Australian equities large caps, Arnold said the flagship fund was the Brisbane-based boutique’s first product, launched 25 years ago. It had a return of 33 per cent in 2020 and had averaged 4.6 per cent annual outperformance.

Accepting the second award, for Australian equities small caps, Arnold said the fund had had a compound rate of return such that money invested 10 years ago would now be worth four-and-a-half times its value. “It’s a special product we started 19 years ago and has been a 19-bagger after fees. It’s had outperformance of about 8 per cent a year after fees,” he said.

He didn’t get to speak while on stage for the third award, for global equities. T. Rowe Price won that from runners-up Hyperion and Franklin Templeton. T. Rowe also won the same Morningstar award in New Zealand’s virtual version of the show the night before.

With the Australian Fund Manager of the Year award, Aman Ramrakha, Morningstar’s director of manager research ratings, said that this year there was more consensus in the judging on the ultimate winner. The runners-up there were First Sentier Investors and Franklin Templeton, both of whom also had strong performance.

At the mic for the last time, Arnold said that almost half of Hyperion’s total funds under management had come from alpha generated, after fees, by the manager’s strategies over the past 25 years.

The Morningstar awards methodology uses a mix of qualitative research, risk-adjusted medium to long-term performance and performance in the 2020 calendar year. The other winners are:

  • Undiscovered manager: Atlas Infrastructure
  • Fixed interest: Legg Mason Western Asset
  • Global equities: T. Rowe Price
  • Listed property and infrastructure: Ironbark Paladin Property Securities, and
  • Multi-sector manager: Vanguard Investments.
  • Fund Manager of the Year: Hyperion.

The Western Asset award for fixed interest was not a surprise, going to a previous recipient, which is now a part of the Franklin Templeton stable of managers following its global purchase of Legg Mason. Morningstar said Western Asset was impressive in both Australian and global bonds. It also took out the award in NZ on Thursday.

“Now under new ownership, Western Asset’s large team of fixed income specialists continue to show remarkable stewardship,” Ramrakha said.

Atlas Infrastructure has had strong growth in the institutional investor space for its listed infrastructure style, even though the institutional market tends to prefer unlisted infrastructure, because of the greater control they offer investors.

Morningstar said Atlas was worthy of attention from retail investors”. The manager had an experienced team spread between London and Sydney which formed the bedrock of “this promising strategy”, Morningstar said.

This article was originally published in The Inside Investor.

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