The final approvals are in and the bell is ready to be rung.
Forager’s Australian Shares Fund will commence trading on ASX at 11am this Friday, 16 December. If you are an investor in the Fund, you will receive an email shortly with details about our new ASX:FOR investor centre and how to buy and sell units on ASX. The units will trade like any other ASX-listed security under the ticker FOR. You will also receive a welcome letter in the post, as well as a transaction statement with details of your listed holdings from our new share registry Link.
An estimate of the latest portfolio valuation will be released prior to the commencement of trade and we will be doing the same every trading day (with the exception of the Christmas to New Year period). Daily pricing is a rarity in listed fund world. And our investment philosophy is particularly long term. But we want a transparent and informed secondary market and, for those who do want to buy or sell units, knowing the underlying value of the units should help.
I’m not expecting any fireworks on listing. Over the next few months we hope to see the market find a healthy balance between enough liquidity for investors to add to or realise their investment, and long holding periods that you would expect from the same investors who have been with us the past seven years.
Fireworks at Forager
We might let off some fireworks in the Forager office, though.
Forager CEO Jeff Weeden, Business Manager Alex Larkman and a small army of high quality support have worked tirelessly on this project for most of 2016. From lawyers Minter Ellison through to the teams at Perpetual, White Outsourcing, Link Market Services, GPS and Fundhost, it has been a monumental effort to deliver something this complicated on time and (almost) on budget.
Many people have asked me why other fund managers haven’t gone down this path. It costs a lot of money, is complicated and doesn’t generate additional revenue is probably reason enough. And not all funds have the same potential issues with liquidity. But the main reason is that most fund managers don’t have the same relationship with their clients.
Roughly two thirds of the Funds’ units were voted at both unitholder meetings required to approve the listing of the Fund. More than 90% of units voted were in favour of the proposals. How many fund managers could ask their clients to give up the ability to redeem their investment at net asset value and receive an overwhelming response in the affirmative? Our clients are closely engaged with the Fund, understand the underlying investment philosophy and trust us when we say this liquidity issue is important. That is rare.
So, most importantly, thank you if you are one of those existing clients. You have placed a lot of trust in us and given us the ideal structure to practice value investing. It is now our job to get on with delivering you returns.
Looking forward to 2017
The Forager business heads into 2017 with a touch over $270m of funds under management. It has clearly been a transformational one for the Australian Fund but the International Fund has also had a watershed year, with its returns this year ranking it top among more than 200 international funds available to Australian investors.
One year doesn’t mean anything. We have previously had periods of significant underperformance. And our aim is to deliver investors good returns, not win beauty parades. But it is encouraging to see so many of our smaller, relatively unknown investments delivering outstanding operational results. Our confidence is growing that we can replicate our domestic track record internationally. Which makes for an exciting few years ahead.
Enjoy the break if you are taking some time off work. The Forager office will be closed between Christmas and New Years’ Eve but keep your eye out for the December Quarterly Report. It will be mostly written before we head off on holidays so should be out nice and early in the New Year.
NOTE ON PAST PERFORMANCE
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The Trust Company (RE Services), Fundhost and Forager Funds Management do not guarantee investment performance or distributions, and the value of your investment may rise or fall. Total returns and estimated valuations have been calculated using the mid-point of unit prices, before taxation, after ongoing fees, and assuming reinvestment of distributions. We encourage you to think of investing as a long-term pursuit.
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