Challenger acquires alternative investment team

Chase Manhattan’s BluePeak Alternative Investment team has found a new home at Challenger International.

The BluePeak team was previously the retail private equity funds management arm of J.P Morgan, Chase and Ord Minnett and will now become the retail alternative investment funds management team for Challenger International. This follows Chase's decision to sell off the unit last year.

BluePeak general manager Hugh Latimer is amongst a group of five staff who will be joining the Challenger fold. He says that the switch to Challenger should complement the group's strategy.

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"BluePeak's philosophy of innovating within the alternative investment arena is a very good fit with Challenger," he says.

BluePeak makes institutional alternative investment opportunities such as private equity and hedge funds available to private investors. Its first fund, the Venture Capital Technology Fund attracted 2000 investors last year with an average investment of $12,500 each.

Latimer says that the alternative investment arena is yet to be fully tapped. BluePeak is assessing further alternative investments in absolute return funds, infrastructure funds and other private equity fund opportunities.

"We are merely scratching the surface of these fund opportunities in Australia. There is over $500 billion of alternative asset funds worldwide and the door is just starting to open for Australia," he says.

He says that BluePeak targets alternative asset managers with an annual investment performance record of around 20 per cent. The funds tend to carry a higher risk, but Latimer says the key is finding managers who manage risk through BluePeak's acceptable parameters.

Challenger, which has more than $7 billion in assets, is still in the process of transferring the BluePeak Venture Capital Technology Fund, with $25 million under management, from Ord Minnett.

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