Yarra Capital ready for January launch

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Yarra Capital Management, which last week announced the recruitment of Mark Burgess as its independent chair, is on track for a January launch, following the management buyout of the former Goldman Sachs Asset Management Australian equities and fixed income businesses.

Burgess, the former fund manager and chief executive of the Future Fund, has been building out a portfolio of directorships and part-time interests in recent years.

The Yarra Capital chairmanship complements a position as chairman of the advisory board for Jamieson Coote Bonds, a Melbourne fixed interest boutique, and also work for Austrade selling Australian investment capabilities abroad.

Burgess says that in his transition he has to be aware not to interfere with management but rather to focus on processes and structure, to ask whether clients are being serviced properly, for instance.

He said that when he was at Treasury Group, of which he was chief executive, he approached Dion Hershan, the founding chief executive of Yarra Capital and head of equities, to try to recruit him, without success.

Hershan said: “Mark shares our vision as a long-term patient investor of capital.”

Melbourne-based Yarra Capital, which has also recruited an experienced executive from VFMC, Brett Davidson, as chief operating officer, as previously reported, starts life with about $8 billion in assets under management, about 80 per cent of which is in Australian equities and the rest is in fixed interest strategies.

Hershan said that the manager was a specialist operator in the fixed interest space, focusing on credit and hybrids more than traditional bond strategies.

The new name was chosen because of the symbolism of rivers forging their own path and the fact that the Yarra was a Melbourne icon, “part of the city’s culture and vibrancy and part of its rejuvenation in the last 30 years”.

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