Chase hires Lam on expectations of fund mergers

Chase Corporate Advisory has hired the former head of investments at Ascalon Capital Managers Ltd, a Westpac Corp fund management unit, to advise on what Chase forecasts to be a wave of mergers and acquisitions among Australia's 300 fund management firms.

Nelson Lam, who worked at Ascalon between 2006 and 2012, will become a director at Sydney-based boutique and will bring to five the number of advisers at Chase who concentrate on advising on capital raising and M&A for the financial industry.

“We needed someone to come on board with a deep understanding of the investment industry and the practical hands-on knowledge to advise on acquisition opportunities,” Jeff Singh, Chase’s founder and managing director, told DataRoom.

There are 300 fund managers in Australia, according to the Financial Services Council. Australia’s funds under management totals $1.75 trillion, including about $500 billion of self-managed superannuation money, says the FSC.

“There are probably 100 too many fund managers in Australia,” says Singh. “Consolidation is happening now.”

Chase last month advised Financial Index and KKR & Co on its $130 million takeover of Centric Wealth Financial. Singh says the firm is currently working on as many as four M&A advisory mandates for fund management firms.

“With Nelson we will hopefully be advising fund managers in start-up mode, as well as mature businesses looking to raise capital, merge or seek a distribution opportunity," says Singh.

(Reporting by brett.cole@businessspectator.com.au

Editing by miranda.maxwell@businessspectator.com.au )