Austen Robilliard: Astute Analysis and Robust Research for Better Fund Selection

Austen Robilliard, Investment Director at Murdoch Asset Management

Investment Director at Murdoch Asset Management: Austen Robilliard

Austen Robilliard, Investment Director at Murdoch Asset Management explains why the company’s investment management solutions are so successful.

Austen Robilliard joined Murdoch Asset Management in 2007 and since then he and his team have been a major factor in the massive growth in its funds under management. Starting in a research role, he soon developed a proprietary risk modelling system, as the models on the open market were too focused on volatility and didn’t capture what causes funds to fail.

This led to him being recognised as one of Citywire’s Top 30 under 30, the London-based publishing and information group´s annual assessment of the rising young stars in wealth management.

Seven years later, he was awarded European fund selector of the year at the 2020 International Investment Awards and in 2020 one of 12 shortlisted by RankiaPro, the Spanish-based investment fund information service.

2021 also saw him promoted to Director of the investment team and becoming Chair of the investment committee at Murdoch AM.  The investment team is three strong and without the contributions of each team member, such accolades would not be possible.

Murdoch puts its success down to its tight-knit staff: Highly aware that as a service-based business, it needs to rely on every single member of the team to look after its clients properly. So, the ethos of ‘treat others how you would want to be treated’ starts with the senior team and applies equally to staff and clients. The staff that have been with the company for many years continue this ethos and help new staff maintain a high standard of care for clients.

What also makes the investment team at Murdoch more effective than those at similar companies is the level of detailed analysis carried out before selecting investment funds that they feel confident in recommending. They firmly believe that the success of an investment fund is determined by the management team and investment process, i.e., the inputs, so this is where the team focuses a good deal of its attention.

Every member of the line-up holds high-level academic and industry qualifications, with their expertise and considerable experience spanning all the company’s services.

Robilliard believes that his team can deliver better outcomes to clients from actively managed funds despite the hazards that passive investors don’t have to contend with.

He is cautiously enthusiastic about ESG funds although Murdoch Asset Management applies the same stringent selection criteria to these funds as it does to its unconstrained portfolios.

 “This means looking for those managers with a robust, committed, and repeatable process, and a track record of strong investment returns. We seek above-average returns on a persistent basis over time and aim to strike a balance between performance and the role it plays in society.

ESG investing can be a cause for good, it just needs to be done in the right way and for the right reasons. “

He also points out that the pool is much smaller when it comes to selecting ESG-integrated funds.

This in-depth knowledge and analysis of all major asset classes, portfolio construction and fund selection has enabled Murdoch Asset Management to increase its funds under management from £30.3 million in 1991 to £680 million in 2021.

The company acquired Custodian Wealth Management in 2021 and are in the process of integrating another two in Southeast England, Omnium Wealth, an IFA business based in Guildford and the financial management company, Encompass, in Hampshire.

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