Billionaire investor Kerr Neilson’s fund comes unstuck on China bet
10 Jan, 2019 11:37
香港奇点财经 Singularity Financial Jan.10 2019— 此文属翻译
Listed Australian fund manager Platinum Asset Management said its portfolio would post a paper loss in the December half as the US-China trade war unravelled big bets on Chinese and Asian growth, sending its shares lower on Wednesday.
The fund manager, founded 25 years ago by stock picker Kerr Neilson, who’s been dubbed “Australia’s Warren Buffett” for his investment prowess, said late on Tuesday it would post an unrealised loss on its investments for the six months to December 31.
Rich lister Kerr Neilson stepped down as chief executive last year.
It expects to collect little in the way of performance fees, and said funds under management fell by about $100 million in December to $24.09 billion, for an annual drop of 11 per cent. The company will report its half-year earnings on February 21.
The warning underscores how far the firm’s flagship fund’s bets in east Asia – mainly in China which the company called “the investment opportunity of a generation” – have come undone as an economic slowdown and trade tensions have hammered stocks.
“I can see why they bought it (China). They’re contrarian, they like value and China was cheap,” said Chad Slater, joint chief investment officer at fellow fund manager Morphic Asset Management.
“I can see why they held it, so I wouldn’t begrudge the idea, but at the end of the day performance is what drives flows,” he said, although he noted Platinum’s outflows were modest in a tough year for managers.
Platinum shares fell more than 7 per cent to an 18-month low in early trade before recovering to close down 2.57 per cent at $4.74.
The company’s value has almost halved since a peak in February 2018, as its investments have stumbled and Nielson himself said he would step down as the fund’s CEO.
The billionaire ended managing the fund on July 1, but has remained a full‑time executive director and an analyst within its investment team.
East Asian equities comprise about a third of Platinum’s flagship portfolio, with China the single largest bet, occupying about a fifth of its holdings.
In its most recent market update, Platinum said market weakness has been caused, in part, by China’s slowdown, triggered by financial reform and exacerbated by the trade war with the United States.
Shares in the flagship fund’s top stock, Samsung Electronics, fell 17 per cent during the six months, while Chinese blue chips were hammered, with the index shedding about 15 per cent over the same period.
In Japan, the second-largest investment destination for Platinum’s top fund, the Nikkei ended the year with a loss of 10 per cent for the six months to December 31.
Neilson, who was born in South Africa and whose personal wealth was valued at $1.78 billion by the AFR Rich List 2018, built his reputation with Bankers Trust during its glory days of the 1980s.
At Bankers Trust, he famously ensured his investors were defensively positioned prior to the sharemarket crash of October 1987.
The performance was a marked contrast to rival fund manager, Magellan Financial Group, which enjoyed a surge of as as much as 10.3 per cent in its share price after it reported its average funds under management for the six months to the end of the year had hit $72.07 billion, a third higher than the same period a year ago.