Peter Hall reveals why he's getting out of the ethical fund he founded

A Sumatran rhinoceros and its calf. Mike Simons/Getty Images

If you had given $1000 to ethical fund manager Hunter Hall 22 years ago when it started that investment would now be worth $16,000.

Peter Hall, the founder and chief investment officer, this week resigned and started selling his 43% holding in the company.

He’s already sold 19.9% for $5.4 million to investment house Washington H. Soul Pattinson and plans to sell the rest.

The $1 a share he accepted is less than one-third of today’s closing price of $3.10. The closing price values the company at $84.6 million, the offer at just $27.3 million. 

Washington H. Soul Pattinson (WHSP) is making a cash takeover bid at $1 a share for the rest of the company. Hall’s acceptance will make Soul Patterson the biggest shareholder.

“I have known Washington Soul Pattinson for many years having first met patriarch Jim Millner in his office above the chemist shop in Pitt Street in 1985. WHSP is a very fine Australian institution with diversified interests,” Hall said.

“Should WHSP be successful in their takeover bid I feel confident that they would be good custodians of our investors’ wealth.”

Hall is one of Australia’s best global fund managers with a long track record of outperformance, according to Geoff Wilson of Wilson Asset Management.

Peter Hall released the following personal statement to explain his actions:

    I am now 56 years old and it is time to spend more time with my family and following my personal interests.

    I am very proud of Hunter Hall’s achievements over the long term where in our flagship Value Growth Trust we have turned $1 invested at inception in May 1994 into $16 at the time of our most recent unit prices. The same $1 invested in the Australian Stock market would have turned into about $7 and if invested in global stock markets would have increased to $4.20. That is real wealth creation and we have been good corporate citizens providing capital and support to many fine Australian and international companies.

    Hunter Hall has donated over $10 million to good causes in particular being one of the most important supporters of efforts to prevent the extinction of the Sumatran rhinoceros, of which fewer than 100 individuals remain and the Javan rhinoceros, of which about 60 animals remain.

    Finally allow me to thank the many investors, advisors, stockbrokers, researchers, intermediaries and employees who have supported Hunter Hall over the years.

    It is invidious to name individuals but I feel I must pay particular tribute to past and present members of the Boards of Hunter Hall International Limited and Hunter Hall Global Value Limited, Paula Ferrao, Deputy Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Investment Officers James McDonald and Jonathan Rabinovitz and Monica Hood, Christina Christopherson, Brooke Logan and Asher Lockhart for their loyal service over many years.

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