Managed funds are sniffing at Hunter Hall after the resignation of its ethical investor founder

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Hunter Hall International, whose founder and chief investment officer Peter Hall just resigned, is getting takeover nibbles from major players in the managed funds industry.

The board of directors says it’s received a number of approaches from parties interested in acquiring some or all of shares in the ethical investment company.

A short time ago, Hunter Hall International shares were down more than 7% to $3.00.

“Several interested parties are significant players in the investment management business with experience managing Australian and global funds,” the board said in a statement.

“The board is currently assessing all options to maximise value for shareholders and ensure the continued stewardship of our funds under management.”

Hall tendered his resignation on Tuesday for “personal and family reasons”.

The board of directors says Hall will continue until the end of his six month notice period. He will also continue as CEO and a director.

The ethical investment company says it’s looking at the appointment of a new chief investment officer.

In the meantime, funds will continue to be managed by Peter Hall and his two deputies, James McDonald and Jonathan Rabinovitz.

Hall started the company in 1993 with the aim of doing good in the world and achieving excellent long term results for investors.

The company listed on the ASX in 2004 and now has $1 billion in funds under management.

In 2016, the company’s investment portfolio increased by 12.3% after all fees and expenses, outperforming both the global and Australian equity markets.

In a letter to investors, Hall says: “The world is an uncertain place with much complexity, huge opportunities and many risks. The only way to navigate through is to have a strong moral compass and a sound investment philosophy and process.”

In the company’s latest annual report, Hall says he continues to see vulnerability in the global market with high equity valuations, slowing economies, high sovereign debt levels and over-leveraged financial institutions in China, Italy, Germany and other states.

“Of great concern is that central banks and governments may have run out of fiscal and monetary firepower as fiscal deficits are high, money printing is becoming increasingly less effective and a huge portion of the world’s bonds have negative yields,” he says.

“Governments may have to resort to explicit money printing due to reduced tax receipts from slowing economies.

“We will continue to hold high cash and gold weightings, and favour defensive economies such as Australia while avoiding high risk areas such as the international banking industry, Europe and China.”

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