With a nation addicted to debt and conscripted to superannuation, Australia has become the most lucrative hunting ground in the world for financial paper shufflers.
Financial stocks now constitute 42% of the Australian market as the bank cartel has made untold riches. Whilst banks now also dominate funds management, there are thought to be almost 20 fund managers who have accumulated personal piles worth more than $100 million from clipping the ticket on our $1 trillion in super assets over the years.
The latest chaps trying to join this lucrative giggle are former UBS Australia chief executive Chris Mackay and his Deutsche Bank counterpart Hamish Douglass.
After chomping at the bit for 15 years, the lads finally took control of Malcolm Turnbull’s listing Pengana Capital group last year and have since hired a raft of good people and raised $378 for the Magellan Flagship Fund, with plenty more of the same to come.
The boys gathered for a general meeting of shareholders in Sydney yesterday to change Malcolm’s complex stapled security structure and approve share purchase plans for employees and non-executive directors, including Babcock’s Brett Cairns who committed to buy 1 million shares on market.
The lads have identified global equities as their strength which posed the obvious question: what does a couple of investment banking types know about international stock picking?
Douglass claimed that the two of them have special insights from advising most of the top 50 Australian companies over the years and also have experience in running large teams of people in big businesses. There are a lot of good stock pickers who couldn’t run a business to save themselves and while the lads clearly fancy their own stock picking prowess, they have also hired a pretty strong team as they try to cut Kerr Nielsen’s lunch by replicating Platinum’s strategy of putting retail investors into foreign stocks.
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Mackay and Douglass were both pretty impressive over a solid half hour of questioning, but that doesn’t mean Magellan will fly. After all, 452 Capital’s Peter Morgan left Perpetual with a record of outperforming, but his defensive tendencies have delivered underperformance during the past three year bull market.
The market is clearly backing the duo to launch a raft of funds that extract juicy management fees because Magellan shares are today trading at $2.10 – more than double its net asset backing of 99c. Douglass agreed this reflected the value of current and future management contracts.