Platinum shares slide after billionaire co-founder Kerr Neilson steps down as CEO

Kerr Neilson. (Source: Platinum Asset Management)

Billionaire investor Kerr Neilson has announced he’s stepping down as CEO of Platinum Asset Management, the company he co-founded in 1994.

In a statement lodged with the ASX after close of trade yesterday, Neilson said he will shift into a full-time role as Executive Director.

Shares in Platinum have slumped on the news today, falling by as much as 13%:


The company announced that Andrew Clifford — also a co-founder and currently Platinum’s Chief Investment Officer — will step into the top job on July 1, 2018.

“Andrew Clifford, along with Clay Smolinski, will take full portfolio management responsibility for the flagship fund, the Platinum International Fund, and my portfolio management responsibilities for Platinum’s other global equity funds and mandates will be allocated between Andrew Clifford and Clay Smolinski. Both Andrew’s and Clay’s long-term individual performance records are exceptionally strong,” Neilson said.

Platinum made its name an Australian-based fund with an effective global investment strategy, focusing on international equities.

The company currently has an Asia-focused strategy, with less exposure to the US stock market.

Neilson still owns more than half of Platinum’s issued stocks, in a combined holding with ex-wife Judith Neilson.

Yesterday Platinum reported a 7% increase in half-year profits to $102.17 million, based on a 14.9% rise in revenue to $185.95 million.

“The increase in profit was less than the increase in revenue, predominantly due to the inclusion of an employee incentive non-cash provision of $14.3 million, as well a modest increase in other spending, mostly related to new product initiatives,” the company said.