The boy from Adelaide who rescued Australia’s failing property sector

Matthew Kidman

Centennial Asset Management

The Australian commercial property sector was in a mess in the mid-1990s. The industry was stuck in illiquid structures and investors were unable to withdraw their money.

Then, budding investment banker Andrew Pridham entered the picture. He believed listing property assets was the best way out of the disaster.

It worked. At just 28 years old, he was a managing director and head of global property at UBS in London. Pridham returned to Australia seven years later to set up his own shop. That company was eventually bought by Wall Street behemoth JP Morgan.

And being the restless person he is, Pridham pivoted again just as his 30s gave way to his 40s. This time, he convinced a former American UBS colleague Ken Moelis to create Moelis Australia with the two becoming the largest shareholders. 

Moelis Australia would expand rapidly beyond investment banking to become a mini-Macquarie Bank. Today, it’s worth $843 million and is listed on the ASX as MA Financial Group (ASX: MAF). 

Now he joins me on the latest episode of Success and More Interesting Stuff to discuss his life in investment banking, his role as Chairman of the Sydney Swans and the advice he has for those looking to venture out on their own.


TIME CODES

0:00 - Intro
4:24 - Early life
12:49 - Early career in finance
16:32 - Risk in financial markets at the time
19:07 - Recession and investment banking
22:47 - Coming out of a recession, and into the golden era of property
25:58 - Moving to the international scene
30:34 - Joining the swans, and lessons in leadership
35:18 - Striking out independently
51:13 - Listing on the ASX, and the future of MA Financial
1:01:18 - Values of the Swans
1:09:31 - Outro

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Matthew Kidman
Principal and Portfolio Manager
Centennial Asset Management

Matthew is the Principal and Portfolio Manager at Centennial Asset Management. Prior to this, Matthew was the CIO at Wilson Asset Management between 1998 and 2011, achieving 18% p.a. over the period.

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