POHL CHASES SMALLER RICHES

POHL CHASES SMALLER RICHES

MANNY Pohl, the Gold Coast fund manager who co-founded Hyperion Asset Management in the 1990s, has launched a new listed venture targeting what he says are rich pickings that the investment community has overlooked.

Barrack St Investments Ltd (ASX: BST) is aimed at capitalising on Pohl’s past record of selecting low-profile winners from the daunting field of low-cap and mid-cap companies currently trading on the Australian Securities Exhange.

The seasoned investment manager has a solid background in the field, having invested in the likes of Seek (ASX: SEK) and Carsales.com (ASX: CRZ) before they were noticed by the broader investment community.

Pohl says Barrack St is aiming to find similar well-managed growth opportunities in a sector of the investment market he says is being largely ignored by fund managers – as well as many retail investors.

Pohl says these investors have largely bought into tha big banks, retailers and miners over the past four years, missing out on big potential gains in the mid-cap and low-cap sector.

Pohl says the small-caps in particular have underperformed the market since 2008.

“What we’ve decided to do with this is focus on the ex-50,” says Pohl, referring to stocks outside of the ASX 50.

“Everybobdy’s been chasing the big ones but we’ve done phenomenally well out of the lovely young companies that are growing in Australia.

“If you take a look at our performance over the years, it has been great, but the bulk of our performance has come from the small to mid-caps,” he says.

Pohl has spent the past week in back-to-back meetings seeking to raise between $15 million and $50 million for Barrack St Investments, which is due to list on the ASX on August 14.

“It’s early days, but through the presentations I have made we have seen a great deal of interest,” Pohl tells Gold Coast Business News.

“I’ve been quite overwhelmed by the interest.”

Barrack St, which is chaired by Gold Coast businessman Murray d’Almeida, will be headquartered in Sydney with the team there to include Pohl’s sons Jared and Jason, and co-founder Andrew Dale.

Pohl says Barrack St Investments will sit parallel with his other listed vehicle, the Gold Coast-based Flagship Investments Ltd (ASX: FSI).

“They’ll stand side by side,” he says. “Flagship will give investors exposure to the complete market, while Barrack St will give people exposure to anything out of the ASX 50.”

Pohl company ECP Asset Management will manage the porfolio for both Flagship Investments and Barrack Street, earning a 1 per cent management fee.

Through the IPO, which is led by Morgans Corporate, Barrack St is issuing up to 50 million $1 shares. Each share is attached to an option, exerciseable at $1 within 24 months of their issue date.

Barrack St aims to exceed the benchmark annual return of 8 per cent.

Since inception in July last year to March this year, ECP Asset Management has returned 24.8 per cent to investors.

Pohl plans to take a personal stake in the new venture, which he says is a pre-requisite for all ventures he has undertaken.

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