GQG Partners is on a growth spurt.
The firm, founded just 18 months ago by Rajiv Jain, has seen assets under management soar to $10 billion from initial seed money of $100 million.
GQG specializes in emerging market, global and international equities, the same active investment strategies that Mr. Jain oversaw at Vontobel Asset Management Inc. until his surprise departure as chief investment officer and co-CEO on Feb. 29, 2016. GQG was established four months later.
While his investment focus hasn't changed, his day-to-day experiences most definitely have, Mr. Jain said.
"It's a big difference working in a large firm vs. a small nimble firm purely focused on money management," he said. "When you own your own business, you can afford to take a much longer-term view about how to invest in the business."
As majority owner of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based GQG, Mr. Jain said he is able to set the firm's direction, including his plan to close GQG's emerging markets strategy to new investors when it hits $10 billion in assets under management. The strategy now has more than $3 billion in AUM. But he said he doesn't see that decision limiting the firm's growth because its international and global equity strategies do not have size constraints.
Mr. Jain declined to go into specifics of why he left Vontobel but said he could not see "eye to eye" with new management. No members of Vontobel's 10-member investment team made the move with him. A new, nine-member team of GQG research analysts provides a fresh perspective, he said.
"Too much stability is equal to stagnation; you need to bring in fresh blood from time to time," he said. "I was very comfortable not bringing anybody."
Mr. Jain also said did not want to hurt Vontobel and has no animosity toward his former employer. His decision to start fresh was not a reflection on the competence of his former team members, he said.
At his new firm, which primarily serves institutional investors, Mr. Jain is aiming to extend his benchmark-beating track record developed during his 20-plus years at Vontobel. For the 14 years he ran a global opportunities equity fund at Vontobel until his departure, the fund had an annualized investment return of 8.3%, according to Morningstar Inc. By comparison, the MSCI Europe Australasia Far East index notched an annualized 5.23%, data show.
At GQG, similar strengths are showing. For the year ended Nov. 30, the firm's global equity strategy composite returned a net 28.66% compared to its benchmark, the MSCI All-Country World index, which returned 24.64%, GQG numbers show.
The firm's international equity strategy for the same period returned a net 32.1%, compared to 27.58% for the benchmark MSCI ACWI-ex U.S. And the emerging markets strategy for the year returned a net 32.25% vs. the MSCI Emerging Markets index return of 32.81%.