investing in the next generation of companies
Access an investment universe of companies that often exhibit the qualities of innovation and disruption, striving to be the future leaders in their industries
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For the next generation of Australian jobs
Access a universe of companies that can provide a disproportionate impact on economic outcomes for the broader Australian economy
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Welcome to Acorn Capital

Where Next generation investing happens.

Acorn Capital believes that emerging Australian companies provide investors with the ability access attractive financial returns, portfolio diversification and deliver outsized economic impacts for the broader Australian economy.

Our investment approach seeks to identify the best investments within an industry.

This next generation of Australian corporate success stories are often associated with high levels of productivity and innovation, as well as new employment opportunities for Australian workers.

Acorn Capital distinguishes itself on the basis of its relatively large research and investment team with expertise across all industries and its focus on providing expansion capital to developing companies.

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Our Strategies

Acorn Capital manages investment strategies that provide access to listed and unlisted Emerging Companies. The Acorn Capital investment philosophy is derived from its belief that there are pricing inefficiencies amongst Emerging Companies due to a lack of readily available external research conducted on such entities. Acorn Capital believes that through a research driven investment process the inefficiencies that exist in Emerging Companies can be exploited to earn superior returns.

 

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About Acorn

Acorn Capital was established in 1998 as a specialist investment manager in emerging Australian companies.

Acorn Capital distinguishes itself through its relatively large research and investment team with expertise across all industries as well as its provision of expansion capital to developing companies.

Through its strategies Acorn Capital can provide Investors with efficient off-index exposure to both public and private emerging companies.

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News & insights

Articles and industry news direct from Acorn Capital’s team of experienced team of more than 10 investment professionals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monthly Newsletter

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About Acorn Capital

Acorn Capital was established in 1998 as a specialist investment manager in emerging Australian companies.

Acorn Capital distinguishes itself through its relatively large research and investment team with expertise across all industries as well as its provision of expansion capital to developing companies.

Through its strategies Acorn Capital can provide Investors with efficient off-index exposure to both public and private emerging companies.

INVESTMENT PHILOSOPHY

Acorn Capital’s investment philosophy is to generate long-term outperformance through its distinctive research and investment capabilities and to identify attractive opportunities in less efficient markets.  Acorn Capital targets the management of small to emerging company portfolios for clients in a way that:

  • is founded on structured, fundamental investment research;
  • makes full use of the business and financial markets experience of Acorn Capital’s Board and executive personnel; and
  • is professionally and academically rigorous.

This philosophy applies to all Acorn Capital investment management products.

Acorn's ethos

Innovation

Acorn Capital believes that a company’s ability to sustain a long-term competitive advantage is related to its ability to innovate and adapt. Innovation may take many forms, including the development of unique intellectual property to a new business model. In our experience, smaller companies need to exhibit relatively higher levels of innovation in order to survive and thrive

Efficiency

Efficiency involves the process under which a business outcome is delivered with minimum economic cost, which encompasses both direct and indirect (including environmental and social) costs. Companies with the lowest economic cost in a given industry should be rewarded in the long term with a relatively lower cost of capital.

Growth

Acorn Capital believes that smaller companies make an outsized contribution to economic growth, particularly employment outcomes. High growth firms are not necessarily a type of firm rather a description for a stage of development in some company’s life cycle.

Diversity

Acorn Capital believes that diversity can leads to better investment outcomes. In addition to avoiding a bias to any one particular industry, diversity is about behavioural bias. The ability to identify behavioural bias (eg gender, race, age) can lead to the identification of market inefficiencies within capital markets that can be exploited to generate outsized investment returns.

The acorn team

Investment team
Robert Routley

Robert Routley is Acorn Capital’s Chief Executive Officer and is responsible for the strategic direction and management of the Company, as well as product management responsibilities for private/unlisted investments undertaken by Acorn Capital. Rob joined Acorn Capital in 2007. Rob commenced his career with PwC and prior to joining Acorn Capital held investment management roles with Colonial First State Private Equity and Baron Corporation. Rob holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business Administration from the University of Melbourne.

James Douglas

James Douglas is an Investment Director with responsibility for the origination, execution and monitoring of Acorn Capital’s private investments. Following a 16 year investment banking career in Australia and the United States, including senior leadership roles at UBS, Merrill Lynch and Citibank, James founded Newmarket Capital, which focuses on investments in Australian hardware and physical technology companies. James is the Chairman of Carbon Revolution, a Geelong-based carbon fibre wheel manufacturer and Quickstep Holdings an ASX-listed aerospace advanced composite manufacturer. James holds a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne.

Paul Palumbo

Paul Palumbo is a Portfolio Manager and Head of Portfolio Implementation with responsibility for the Healthcare and Biotechnology sectors, undertaking fundamental research of companies within those sectors and selecting stocks for inclusion in client portfolios, as well as portfolio dealing and construction in which he manages relations with market counterparties, transacts on clients’ behalf and conducts portfolio data analysis and construction. Paul joined Acorn Capital in 2007. Paul began his career at PwC and IBM Business Consulting. Paul holds a bachelor of Business Information Systems and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment.

Robert Bruce

Robert Bruce is a Portfolio Manager with responsibilities including the development of screening criteria for the Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples and Information Technology sectors, undertaking fundamental investment research on companies within those sectors and selecting stocks for inclusion in client portfolios. Rob began his career as an insolvency practitioner and prior to joining Acorn Capital in 2014 he spent the previous 17 years as a sell and buy side research analyst in Australia and Asia, most recently at CLSA Asia Pacific Markets. Rob holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne.

Ben Dalling

Ben Dalling is a Portfolio Manager/Analyst with responsibility for the Industrials, Financials and Utilities sectors, undertaking fundamental investment research on companies within those sectors and selecting stocks for inclusion in client portfolios. Ben joined Acorn Capital in 2014. Prior to joining Acorn Capital Ben worked for 20 years as a sell side analyst, most recently with Citigroup where he was the Head of Small Cap research. Ben holds a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from LaTrobe University and a Master of Commerce from the University of Melbourne.

Rick Squire

Rick Squire is a Portfolio Manger with responsibility for the provision of research and selection of holdings in the Resources and Energy sectors, undertaking fundamental investment research on companies within those sectors and selecting stocks for the inclusion in client portfolios. Rick is a geologist with over 20 years of experience across the mining, exploration and research of mineral deposits, with the past 7 years in mining finance. Rick holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) from Monash University as well as a PhD from the University of Tasmania.

Karina Bader

Karina Bader is the Analyst conducting the fundamental investment research on companies & selecting investments for client portfolios in the Resources and Energy sectors. Karina joined Acorn Capital in 2009. A geologist by training, Karina’s career began over 20 years ago as a project geologist with resources companies and consultants primarily in gold exploration. Karina holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) from Monash University and a Master of Business Administration (Tech Mgt) from Deakin University.

Matthew Sheehan

Matthew Sheehan is an Investment Director, responsible for the origination, assessment and ongoing management of private investments, with a particular focus on the structuring and documentation of unlisted investments. He is also the Legal Counsel and Company Secretary of both Acorn Capital and ACQ. Matt began his career as a private practise lawyer and worked at firms in Melbourne, New York and London. Prior to joining Acorn Capital in 2009, Matt worked at Macquarie Group as the General Counsel and Company Secretary of various listed and unlisted infrastructure funds. Matt holds a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from Monash University, as well as a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Masters of Applied Finance from the University of Melbourne.

Brian Gan

Brian Gan is an Analyst who assists the Portfolio Managers in the undertaking of fundamental investment research on companies within their sectors. Brian joined Acorn Capital in 2015 following the completion of his Masters of Finance from the University of Melbourne.

Xing Zhang

Xing Zhang is a Fund Manager who is responsible for the Female Leaders Fund. She works alongside the Head of Private Markets, the Investment Directors and the Portfolio Managers to assess, value and manage private investment opportunities. Xing began her career in investment banking with Macquarie Capital in Hong Kong and later moved to London and New York. She has also worked at River Capital, where she was the Investment Analyst and responsible for reviewing a listed equities portfolio consisting of of infrastructure, entertainment, media and tourism stocks. Xing holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne, as well as a Graduate Certificate of Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Swinburne University.

KATE DOHERTY

Kate Doherty is responsible for the accounting, office and portfolio administration functions of the company. Kate’s accounting career began in Melbourne as a taxation consultant; she then spent six years overseas working firstly in the Trust industry at HSBC Private Bank in Guernsey and Butterfield Bank in the Cayman Islands. This was followed by UBS in the Cayman Islands where Kate worked as a hedge fund accountant and administrator. 

Kate holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne and is a qualified Chartered Accountant in Australia.

Board of Directors
Robert Officer (Chairman)

Bob Officer is a Professor Emeritus of the University of Melbourne and a specialist in financial economics. His career has spanned academia and consulting across private and public organizations. Current and former directorships include Victorian Funds Management Corporation, Transport Accident Commission of Victoria, Victorian WorkCover Authority, Over Fifty Group Limited, CP2 Limited, JF Capital Partners and the Bank of Melbourne.

David Bryant

David Bryant is the Chief Executive Officer for Australian Unity Wealth and Chief Investment Officer for the Australian Unity Group. He is responsible for Australian Unity’s financial services, investment and banking activities in Australia. Prior to joining Australian Unity in 2004, David was Chief Operating Officer at Perpetual Personal Financial Services. David is a director of the Australian Financial Services Council, and Co-Chair of its Advice Board Committee. David is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Australian Institute of Management and FINSIA.

Geraldine Barlow

Geraldine Barlow is the General Manager for Australian Unity Wealth. She joined Australian Unity in 2016 and is responsible for leading Australian Unity Wealth’s internal investment teams across multi asset portfolios and AU’s external joint venture businesses in Australian equities. Before joining Australian Unity, Geraldine was head of real return and real estate at the New Mexico State Investment Council, the second largest sovereign wealth fund in the US. Prior to this, Geraldine worked for Hastings Funds Management in the US as well as running her own consulting firm there.

Barry Fairley

Barry Fairley is the founder and former Managing Director of Acorn Capital. He was formerly a director of McIntosh Securities where he was responsible for researching corporate activities in the mining sector. In addition, Barry has established and operated a number of businesses.

Robert Brown

Rob Brown is a Professor Emeritus of Finance University of Melbourne, where his research has focused on security market behaviour. He holds a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) and Master of Economics from the University of Sydney, as well as a Graduate Diploma in Accounting from Victoria College and is a fellow of CPA Australia, a senior fellow of the Australasian Institute of Financial Services and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Our Strategies

Research driven investment processs

Acorn Capital manages investment strategies that provide access to listed and unlisted Emerging Companies. The Acorn Capital investment philosophy is derived from its belief that there are pricing inefficiencies amongst Emerging Companies due to a lack of readily available external research conducted on such entities. Acorn Capital believes that through a research driven investment process the inefficiencies that exist in Emerging Companies can be exploited to earn superior returns.

Retail Investor Strategies
Acorn Capital Investment Fund (ACQ)

Acorn Capital is the manager of ACQ, a Listed Investment Company the shares of which are traded on ASX. ACQ invests in both listed and unlisted Emerging Company securities and is modelled on Acorn Capital’s Emerging Growth Strategy.

Further information on this strategy can be found at www.ACQfund.com.au

Institutional/Wholesale (1)/ Investor Strategies
Acorn Capital Australian Listed Microcap Strategy (AC-ALS)
Acorn Capital’s ALS provides institutional investors with exposure to a portfolio of ASX-listed small and emerging securities. Through a bottom-up stock selection process, the ALS provides investors with access to both mature and developing companies. Acorn Capital believes that portfolio diversification by both stock number and sector is an important risk management tool for the long term investor.

Acorn Capital Emerging Growth Strategy (AC-EGS)

Acorn Capital’s EGS provides an investor with exposure to a portfolio of listed and unlisted emerging companies that are at an expansion stage of development with an Australian nexus. Portfolios are constructed through a bottom-up stock selection process. The EGS can be provided through a segregated investment vehicle which can be modified to meet specific investment objectives.

Acorn Capital Concentrated Emerging Growth Strategy (AC-CEGS)

The CEGS is a benchmark unaware, concentrated portfolio of predominantly unlisted Emerging Companies with an Australian nexus.  The CEGS may also invest opportunistically in ASX-listed Microcaps.  Investee companies will typically be at the expansion stage of development, as this is a stage at which Acorn Capital believes that its research capabilities, as well insights and investment skills can generate absolute returns. Acorn Capital will seek to enhance risk-adjusted investment returns through active management.

Acorn Capital Venture Capital Limited Partnership (AC-VCLP)
The VCLP is an unconditionally registered Australian Venture Capital Limited Partnership and is an eligible venture capital fund under the Significant Investor Visa programme.

News & insights

Fintech at Acorn Capital
News

Fintech at Acorn Capital

We hear the term “Fintech” thrown around in the press regularly, however the term is not easily defined. At Acorn, we view Fintech as new financial technology that becomes an enabler for consumers or business in the Financial Services Sector. This technology might be in payments, accounting, money transfers, lending, investing, asset management, cyber security, digital currency, credit scoring, data collection, insurance, superannuation, cash management or NeoBanking to name a few sectors.

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