A regular line of enquiry to Gateway Financial Marketing is from international fund managers looking to tap into the large pool of funds available for investment in Australia. The Australia’s Managed Funds 2017 update by Austrade puts that figure currently at $2.8 trillion.
Typically international managers have a product which has a great track record over at least one year, sometimes longer, with no ‘on the ground’ presence in Australia, but are prepared to visit regularly. Most managers believe that an initial introduction program across the Australian market is the best way to get started.
Often we turn them away and these are the reasons why.
The Australian market is highly competitive. Lots of fund managers have decided that the Australian investor owns the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Any Fund needs to tick lots of boxes in order to achieve success.
The Australian market is also highly regulated. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission requires all fund managers to be licensed or for you to appoint an Authorised Representative to act on your behalf. Financial Planners or Wealth Advisors are required to show evidence that adequate due diligence has been undertaken before an investment is made. With the introduction of the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) rules the old days of investing in a product because the fund manager over drinks are long gone.
To be successful in Australia an offshore manager needs:
- An Australian license or an appointed licensed third party
- An Australian domiciled vehicle. This is not always the case, some Australian institutions will invest via a foreign vehicle, but to maximise the opportunity it is better to come to market with a vehicle that most Australian investors can utilise.
- A track record of success. Of course, successful performance is a priority for all investors, but Australian investors also like to see success in raising funds and building a brand in the country in which the fund manager is headquartered.
- A brand name – this includes a story behind the product and the group managing it, that is recognised – somewhere!
- A point of difference. Don’t expect to come to the Australian market and be inundated with interest. For the most part investors already have solutions to their investment issues. Your job (or the job or your appointed distributor) is to convince them that your offering provides complementarity and enhancement to the portfolios they are already running.
- If you do not have an Australian office you need more than irregular visits – you will be competing with groups who have bases in Australia and multiple people on the ground. You can get away with not having an office in Australia but that strategy needs to be very well supported with a thorough marketing strategy plan and dedicated distribution efforts either undertaken by you or a Joint Venture partner.
- Appropriate and well structured fees. Fees do not appear to be the issue offshore that they are in Australia. If your product is not competitive on fees, it will not succeed. Fees are a critical element in the Investment mix in Australia.
- A clear understanding of the distribution path – Retail/ Wholesale/LIC/SMA/Mfund
If this list appears onerous – its only because the process is onerous! All this, and it will still be 2-3 years until you start to see flows.
Still interested? Gateway understands the Australian landscape, we have worked for many offshore managers assisting them with their strategy in bringing a product to the Australian market. We can assist with competitor analysis, marketing strategy, distribution strategy and excellent contacts with all service providers.
We would welcome the opportunity to explore the Australian landscape for your product with you, and to formulate a plan for success.