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Rating:Heathwood Focuses Boston Partners on L/S Strats and Branding Not Rated 5.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Heathwood Focuses Boston Partners on L/S Strats and Branding

Reported by Anastasia Donde

Robeco Boston Partners is doing a big sales push around its global long/short strategies, as well as its older long/short and global long-only offerings.

The firm started developing its long/short funds 10 years ago and already manages a long-only global value fund, as well as an institutional global value strategy. Boston Partners, which was acquired by Dutch asset manager Robeco Investment Management in 2002, is also slightly tweaking its branding to bring the Boston Partners name more to the forefront.

Paul Heathwood, who is now the firm's head of intermediary sales and was one of the original founders of value equity specialist Boston Partners, said he's pitching the strategies to other mutual fund shops that use sub advisors, retirement platforms, registered investment advisors, wirehouse brokers and bank trust departments. The firm already sub advises John Hancock's Disciplined Value Fund and Disciplined Mid-Cap Value Fund.

The new Robeco Boston Partners Global Long/Short Equity Investor (BGRSX) fund started trading on April 14 and has just $13.6 million under management at this point. Financial advisors will often require a three-year track record in a given strategy before investing, but the firm tends to run its strategies with seed money or through "early adapter" investors for the time being, Heathwood explained.

"It's a long-term sales process," he said. "You really have to persevere and stand in front of people for a long time."

The more tenured Robeco Boston Partners Long/Short Research Investor (BPRRX) fund returned 15.14 percent and 9.51 percent for the past one- and three-year periods, respectively. It was launched in October, 2010 and with $4.4 billion under management, is the largest of the long/short funds.

The oldest Robeco Boston Partners Long/Short Equity Investor (BPLEX) fund dates back to an inception date of April 22, 2004. It returned 7.85 percent, 9.94 percent and 21.98 percent for the past one-, three-, and five-year periods, respectively, according to Morningstar. It has $811.6 million under management.

Heathwood is also working on making the Boston Partners name more visible in marketing materials, as the firm's brand is better known in the U.S. where Heathwood is seeing continuous growth in the retail market. The firm only had $400 million in intermediary assets in 2009. These have now grown to $25 billion. The whole Robeco Boston Partners outfit manages $62 billion in institutional, international, and intermediary channels.

"DB plans have been on the decline, so we have seen negative growth there," Heathwood said.

The firm's new fund marketing materials only list Boston Partners' name at the top, and the firm's blue color schemes, as opposed to Robeco's black and purple hues. Robeco is still mentioned as a parent firm further down.


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