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Perpetual keen to expand into infrastructure, alternative investing

The takeovers contributed to Perpetual’s profit sliding by 11 per cent over the December half to $52.6 million, but Mr Adams said they have already started proving their worth.

“In Trillium and Barrow Hanley, we have two terrific businesses that are getting great additional growth potential,” he said.

The Trillium acquisition has exposed Perpetual’s investors to what Mr Adams described as “the biggest global megatrend on the planet right now” – ESG [environment, social and governance] investing – and Barrow Hanley opened it up to emerging markets and global equities.

“We’ve certainly plugged a few big holes in terms of what we do,” he said, adding there was still work to do. “In a perfect world, we’ve got a few capability gaps I’d like to fill.”

Mr Adams said he was interested in expanding investment capabilities to unlisted and listed infrastructure assets as well as private markets and “the broader bucket of alternative investments”.

“So there are certainly areas (that) we think have global applicability and investors are increasing allocations to some of those capabilities. Ideally I’d like us to participate.”

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Perpetual’s share price slid by more than 6 per cent over the course of trading on Thursday to close at $31.40, despite announcing shareholders would receive an interim dividend of 84 cents per share, up 68 per cent from the last half but down 20 per cent on the corresponding period last year.

Perpetual reported expenses of $208.5 million, up 22 per cent on the same period last year, mostly to manage the acquisitions. Mr Adams said he was surprised by the market reaction.

“To be frank, it’s quite odd. We’ll be talking to all of the sell side and buy side investors over the course of the day and week. As per usual, we have scores of meetings lined up so we will get to the bottom of it.”

“If I had to guess, I’d say Perpetual has a long history of very clean numbers half-to-half, year-to-year, we get a lot of praise for how clean our numbers are.”

“This set of numbers is a bit messy because we had two transactions,” Mr Adams said.

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