Winston buy secures Coolabah for Pinnacle
Pinnacle Investment Management has acquired the third-party marketing business Winston Capital Partners, primarily so it can control distribution for one of its affiliates, Coolabah Capital Investments. Coolabah, a $7 billion fixed income credit manager, has had a run of success in the past couple of years, with Pinnacle recently increasing its minority shareholding to 32 per cent by acquiring the interest held by the Bennett family office. For Winston, founded by Sydney-based Stephen Robertson and Perth-based Andrew Fairweather in December 2012, Coolabah was its major funds management client, and the firm held a long-term distribution contract. Pinnacle, on the other hand, does not act as a third-party distributor but provides distribution and other services to its affiliates, all of which it has minority shareholdings in. The deal, for an unspecified amount, tidies up this arrangement, with the two partners and two out of the three Winston staff agreeing to new roles within Pinnacle. Cameron Harris, the third staff member, is to form his own third-party marketing business and will have the other two important Winston managers as his inaugural clients. The mutual arrangements look like a rare win, win, win. The other managers, for whom Harris has worked since the start of their contracts, are Monash Investors, an absolute return Australian equities manager, and Epsilon Direct Lending, a private credit manager. Cameron Harris, who spent 15 years at Macquarie prior to joining Winston, said last week (September 8) that he loved working with both Monash and Epsilon whose main target markets for capital raising were the wholesale areas of financial advisers, HNWs, family offices and small institutions. Epsilon is slightly more institutionally focused. With their backgrounds in the wealth management sector, Robertson and Fairweather, who had worked together at J.P. Morgan in the 1990s, set their business apart from many other third-party marketers through this wholesale focus. Institutional is becoming increasingly difficult for managers from a business perspective. The rapid consolidation resulting in fewer, bigger, funds, and increasing regulatory push resulting in a bias towards index-style returns, mean smaller active and alternatives managers are deserting the big super funds as sources of capital. They are simply too hard to deal with. As one experienced marketer said recently of the big funds: “It takes you six months to get a meeting and another six months for them to say ‘no’.” Robertson said that he and Fairweather had also enjoyed working with the Winston managers and was pleased that they would remain in good hands after the arrangements had been completed. “Pinnacle do what we have done on steroids,” he said. “They have the resources, broader distribution and a balance sheet.” Robertson had also worked with Andrew Chambers, Pinnacle’s executive director in charge of institutional and international business, and a significant shareholder, when they were at J.P. Morgan. The two other Winston staff to join Pinnacle are James Archer, a business development manager, and Jessica Brent, operations manager.