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Wealth Manager: ACPI CIO Pabst - 'the European holiday is over'

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by David Campbell on May 10, 2012 at 00:01

On the fairly limited evidence available, winning a stock selection competition in the papers might not be regarded as the most intellectually rigorous launch pad for a career in asset management.

For good or bad, the poster child for the strategy remains Jayesh Manek, whose spectacularly volatile and momentum-driven Manek Growth has shed around three quarters of assets in the past 10 years, sliding from a pre-tech bubble peak of £300 million down to a current figure of £24 million.

Marco Pabst, chief investment officer at boutique ACPI, also found his interest in investment piqued by winning a newspaper competition in the early 1990s, within a year of Manek’s fateful triumph in the Sunday Times league. His investment style has evolved more obviously since then, however.

‘I won without any real idea of what I was doing,’ Pabst says now. ‘I had seen it in the paper and selected about 50 stocks, mostly on brand name recognition – mobile phone companies, consumer products, fast cars, the things I was buying or would have liked to buy at the time.

‘It wasn’t really based on company fundamentals,’ he adds drily.

He similarly followed Manek’s route of opening his own asset management business, although in place of $10 million of seed capital provided by an unusually star-struck Sir John Templeton, picture instead a small pile of petty cash scraped together from Dresden’s student population.

That initial – short-lived and unregulated  – experiment, was followed by a series of jobs on the sell and buy sides of the market up to the position he holds today, having been appointed to his current role in 2010, after joining to head European equity in 2005.

Assets under management at ACPI offer an inverse mirror image of Manek’s slide over the past 10 years, from an initial figure of $463 million in 2001 to a recent figure of $3.2 billion, with steady and incremental gains in every calendar year, including the difficult period of 2007 and 2008.

 

Launched after the Goldman IPO by two cash-rich former partners, Alok Oberoi and Joseph Sassoon, the group has developed over time from a quasi-family office to a significant institutional and private client manager, with a family of retail funds attached.

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