About us

As a global asset management firm with more than USD$143.8b (AUD$204.2b) (1) assets under management, we help deliver long-term investment performance for our clients. From institutional investors to private individuals, we serve clients from a wide range of geographic and social backgrounds.

We are privileged that our clients trust us to be the stewards of their investments and we aim to earn and retain that trust every day. 

We do it by bringing together autonomous teams of investment specialists, active investors and collectively putting our clients’ needs first in all that we do. For us, it’s about being committed to responsible, active investment so that we can aim to deliver strong and sustainable returns. By investing with conviction, we can help create long-term wealth for our clients.

This approach, we believe, gives us the power to shape the future, not only for investors and shareholders but for society.

Our history

Our business first started in Australia in 1988, and we became part of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AU) in 2000. We have since grown to become a large-scale asset manager, with an 800-strong team across 11 offices including Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.

On 31 October 2018, the Commonwealth Bank announced the sale of Colonial First State Global Asset Management (known as First State Investments outside of Australia) to Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation (MUTB). Sale completion remains subject to regulatory approvals in the countries in which we operate, and is expected to complete in mid calendar year 2019. 

MUTB is one of Japan’s leading asset managers and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG) with A$641 billion (as of Dec. 2018) in assets under management, representing a 9% market share for mutual funds and 25% for pension funds in Japan.

Our capabilities

We believe bringing together autonomous teams of investment specialists who have expertise across multiple asset classes means better investment decisions, and ultimately, better outcomes for our clients.

Over the years we have identified opportunities to broaden our investment capabilities. We now have 17 teams operating across Equities, Fixed Income, Alternatives and Multi-Asset, including Stewart Investors, a pioneer in emerging market equities and sustainable investing, and First State Stewart Asia, our leading Asian equities investor. Realindex Investments, our passives strategy, is focused on driving performance through continual refinement of our systematic equities investment processes.

Although autonomous, all of our teams are united by a rigorous, disciplined and active approach to investment. It’s an approach that aims to preserve investor capital throughout the ups and downs of the market, and enables us to act as true stewards of our clients’ capital.

Our philosophy and culture

We are committed to the principles of responsible investment and have been signatories to the United Nation’s Principles for Responsible Investment (also referred to as PRI) since 2007.

We believe that the way our industry views investment performance needs to evolve to reflect the real-world impact of the business. We judge the long-term strength of a company on more than percentage returns, using environmental, social and governance factors to help guide our investment decisions. By seeing beyond the numbers, we encourage high-quality investment practices and manage risk in a more holistic way.

For us, responsible investment also means strong stewardship and employee engagement. We believe stewardship comes from forging strong long-term partnerships with our clients as well as having a strong voice in the investment community. We promote a culture of collaboration and participation throughout the business because we believe that ultimately, responsible investment allows us to generate sustainable, long-term returns.

1 Source: Commonwealth Bank of Australia financials as at 31 December 2018.

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