At a time of confronting volatility, much of which can be sheeted back to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, organisers Matthew Grounds and Guy Fowler, co-executive chairs at Barrenjoey,and veteran fund manager and philanthropist Chris Cuffe see Browder as a star pick.
“What is going on in Russia, which equals what is going on in energy in the world, is at front and centre for most investment professionals,” Cuffe says.
“What is going to happen in Europe this winter will be interesting. What it means for energy security is interesting – the race for renewable energy – it is all very topical.”
Hearts & Minds, now in its sixth year, is pitched as the thinking investor’s conference and raises funds for medical research.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Browder said: “This worthy undertaking is the antithesis of Vladimir Putin’s Russia where institutionalised corruption has siphoned off more than $1 trillion which should have gone towards hospitals, schools, roads or housing.
“Instead, this money is being used to pay for the planes, boats, dachas and indulgent lifestyles of Putin and his cronies.”
Fowler says Browder is part of Russian folk lore. “He has become the Russian state public enemy. It is scary to think this is somebody who at one stage in 2005 was the largest Western investor in Russia,” he says.
Browder founded Hermitage Capital, which invested in Russia during a spate of privatisations. But the process was found to be deeply corrupt, delivering billions of dollars into the hands of many of the Russian oligarchs of today.
Browder’s stakes in Russian companies suddenly diluted.
“They would just say there are a million shares on issue yesterday, now there are 100 million and you didn’t get any,” Fowler says. Grounds adds: “Or there was a meeting in some location like Siberia and you needed to be there at that particular time.”
In 2008, Browder’s Moscow-based lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, uncovered a massive fraud that involved the theft of $US230m of state taxes. Magnitsky testified against state officials involved and was arrested. He later died in prison.
Browder’s campaigns for targeted sanctions against Russia over human rights abuse led to the Magnitsky Act, first passed in the US and in Australia last year.
Browder will be interviewed by Luke Harding, who from 2007 to 2011 was the Guardian’s Moscow bureau chief before he was expelled by the Kremlin.
Grounds says the interview will seek to second guess the mind of Putin. And it will be from an undisclosed location. “His first book was called Red Notice, the second was called Freezing Order. We don’t want to create the third book,” he says.
Sohn Hearts & Minds was an idea unashamedly pinched from the philanthropic US Sohn Conference by Grounds, Fowler and businessman Gary Weiss in 2016.
It is through Weiss’s friendship with Chris Barter, co-founder of high-growth VC firm King River Capital who worked in Russia, that Browder has been secured.
For the first time in two years Hearts & Minds will be in person, and in Hobart supported by the Tasmanian government looking to pitch its investment potential from clean and green to whisky.
Four hundred attendees have booked in to hear keynotes from international and Australian fund managers with a string of often fresh talent who each have just 10 minutes to deliver a TEDx-style pitch on one stock.
New speakers announced on Tuesday are Claremont Global’s Bob Desmond, WaveStone Capital’s Catherine Allfrey and Regal Funds Management’s Tim Elliott, as well as Auscap Asset Management’s Tim Carleton, Peter Cooper of Cooper Investors and Munro Partners’ founder and CIO, Nick Griffin.
Where Hearts & Minds differs from Sohn in the US is the ASX-listed investment company, HM1, created in 2018 from the conference and which provides a concentrated equities portfolio of the highest conviction ideas from fund managers, while also supporting medical research.
Sixty-five per cent of the funds under management comes from six core fund managers who each pick three stocks. Thirty-five per cent comes from the most popular 10-minutepitches of the conference.
HM1 has been a clear casualty of the market fallout. In the past 12 months a concentration of picks in the hi-tech sector played poorly. HM1’s annual investment portfolio performance to June 2022 was -33.6 per cent compared with a MSCI return of -6.5 per cent.
Shares have fallen more than 40 per cent this year and HM1 is trading at a discount to net tangible assets.
“We are not happy with the discount, we are not happy with the results for the last 12 months, but we look at the results since we listed and we had two great years to begin with,” says Cuffe, who chairs HM1.
Grounds says: “We did the IPO at $2.50, we’ve paid dividends, our pre-tax NTA is at $3. The performance is not perfect but not terrible either and we have given $40m away to medical research. So maybe we get a B- but we are pretty focused on getting our grades up.”
The conference selection stocks were strongly correlated to the tech sector and fell 50 per cent in the seven months to June 30.
Cuffe says HM1 is learning and will ensure more diversity in the conference portfolio.
HM1’s core managers who could take a longer-term view with three stocks were also weighed down by picks such as Eat Takeaway, Zillow, Block and Tyro Payments. Some of these stocks are now recovering.
This article was originally posted by The Australian here.
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Two hundred of Australia’s best and brightest money managers, bankers and entrepreneurs toasted the seventh Sohn Hearts and Minds conference at David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art, better known as MONA, in Hobart on Thursday night.
Fund manager turned anti-corruption campaigner Bill Browder is advising investors to hang on to their cash until central banks stop raising interest rates and the cost of living starts to come down, before investing it strategically.
The Sohn Hearts & Minds Investment Leaders Conference, held annually, had before Friday’s event made more than $40m in collective donations to medical research. It applies the stock picks made by fund managers in an investment portfolio.
Professional gambler and arts impresario David Walsh had a brutal message for successful top money managers – you may just be lucky.
Technology behind the tech; healthier lifestyles; the green transition and regulatory tailwinds. These are the mega-themes the smartest minds in the market are now firmly getting behind which they believe can help them deliver outsized profits.
A room filled with 700 of the country’s financial luminaries and billionaires is a difficult place to pitch an investment idea but it’s a great place to raise money for charity.
Top global money managers are telling investors to steer clear of companies that don’t make money and invest instead in unloved but profitable businesses, as continuing central bank interest rate rises threaten to keep markets falling.
Perpetual’s star stock picker Anthony Aboud says companies with strong balance sheets will finally be rewarded for their discipline in an environment of rising interest rates and global market upheaval.
Perpetual’s top stock picker Anthony Aboud makes his money running against the crowd and this is why property trusts like Charter Hall are sitting right the top his list right now.
Some of the top fund managers in the country will on Friday pitch their best investment ideas to the Sohn Hearts & Minds conference.
Twenty students from Kingston High School have been given the opportunity to attend the prestigious Sohn Hearts & Minds conference this week.
Gerry Cardinale, the owner of AC Milan and a host of other soccer, cricket, baseball and ice hockey assets is trying to double his money in the ‘resilient’ asset class.
Carleton’s conviction will be on full display on Friday, when he makes his third appearance at the annual Sohn Hearts & Minds Investment Leaders Conference, where stock-pickers share their best ideas in the name of medical research.
James Miller, a portfolio manager at Firetrail Investments, believes investors need to stop seeing the global decarbonisation push as a risk – and start seeing it as an opportunity.
Maggie O'Neill, Head of Marketing and Operations at HM1 joined Nick Griffin, CIO of Munro Partners to discuss the history of Hearts & Minds, Munro Partners' involvement and Nick's upcoming stock pitch.
Bob Desmond is Head of Claremont Global and Co-Portfolio Manager. He will present at the Sohn Hearts & Minds Investment Leaders Conference in Tasmania on November 18.
An increasing intransigence from authorities in Beijing toward private enterprise - and harsh pandemic restrictions - might be keeping some investors away, but the same factors are creating good opportunities in Chinese stocks.
Joyce Meng is a presenter at this year’s Sohn Hearts & Minds Investment Leaders Conference on November 18, which takes place in Hobart and aims to raise money for medical research.
Founder, CIO and CEO of Eminence Capital Ricky Sandler talks about his journey launching the $5.7 billion dollar asset manager, how the market has changed over the past decade and his motivations for participating in this year's Sohn Hearts & Minds conference.
Munro’s Nick Griffin on why he prefers Alphabet and Amazon over Meta, shorting industrials and Chinese equities, and his top picks for the energy transition.
When Auscap Asset Management founder Tim Carleton tips a stock at this month’s Sohn Hearts & Minds conference in Hobart, he doubts it will be a name that shocks investors.
The veteran fund manager says the most uncertain period of his career will deliver huge opportunities – providing his firm can stick to its system.
One of the nation’s most influential fund managers has warned that investment markets have entered a “new phase”, with hidden risks in the form of debt sitting in super funds, private equity and big investors that is set to test the financial system.
Speaking to The Australian Financial Review before the Sohn Hearts & Minds conference, Sandler named global on-demand ride-sharing and food delivery service Uber Technologies among his top picks, alongside real estate marketplace Zillow.
When former Amcor chief executive Ken MacKenzie was named the new chairman of BHP five years ago, that was a sign for top-rated fund manager Peter Cooper to move back into the mining giant.
Jun Bei Liu is the lead portfolio manager at Tribeca Alpha Plus Fund. Ms Liu is set to present an investment idea at the Sohn Hearts & Minds conference in Tasmania on November 18.
Regal’s hedge fund focused on the resources space has thumped the market and its top stock picker, Tim Elliott, says resources stocks are still cheap.
Desmond, who worked in London before moving to Australia in 2008, is making his first appearance at the annual Sohn Hearts & Minds Investment Leaders Conference, where fund managers give their favourite stock tips to raise money for medical research charities.
The WaveStone principal says retail will drop away but quality operators will find a way through.
Catherine Allfrey, Principal and Portfolio Manager of WaveStone Capital will be speaking at this year's Sohn Hearts & Minds Conference in Hobart which raises funds for Australian medical research.
Bill Browder, the fund manager who has become one of Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, says the Russian leader is increasingly desperate, but no less dangerous.
Bill Browder, once the largest foreign investor in Russia and the man behind the global Magnitsky justice campaign, says the US is the weakest link in the war in Ukraine.
There are many descriptors for Browder, including Russia’s anti-corruption crusader, and its most dogged oligarch hunter. But it’s his title as Putin’s No.1 foreign enemy that bestows on him another label - consummate survivor.
On November 18, Griffin – with $4.7bn under management at Munro Partners – heads to Hobart for this year’s face-to-face pitch to investors on his 2023 pick.
Tim Carleton, founder of Auscap Asset Management and 2022 Conference Fund Manager sat down with Equity Mates to discuss his investment philosophy and what makes a great Australian company.
When investor Kara Nortman and actor Natalie Portman decided to start a soccer team, they created a brand that has grabbed the sporting world’s attention.
Sporting teams and leagues are becoming serious investments for global firms managing billions of dollars, as private equity funds eye off the sector’s growth potential and resilience to economic slumps.
Australia’s sports leagues are being held back by a culture of conservatism and need to be more open to private equity investment or risk falling behind, investors say, with Netball Australia’s rejection of a $6.5m bailout cited as just one example of administrators’ aversion to private capital. Conservative Australian sports leagues are ‘letting investment opportunities pass them'.
A financier and political activist who is viewed as a key enemy of Russia’s government will address Australian investors on the war in Ukraine at this year’s Sohn Hearts and Minds conference, as the conflict continues to have a major influence on global markets.
Keynote speaker will be Bill Browder, the former Hermitage Capital hedge fund manager that has become an arch nemesis of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as he has lobbied governments to black-list senior Russian officials attempting to shift their assets offshore.
Bill Browder, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, the founder of Hermitage Capital and the man behind the Magnitsky Law on human rights, will headline this year’s Sohn Hearts & Minds investor conference.