Research house plays down Hunter Hall concerns

Research house plays down Hunter Hall concerns

The departure of Hunter Hall’s founder and chief investment officer Peter Hall may not greatly impact the fund manager’s performance, according to Independent Investment Research.

The announcement of Mr Hall’s resignation came “out of the blue”, Independent Investment Research (IIR) supervisory analyst Peter Rae told InvestorDaily, but the company’s underlying investment process may not change much following Mr Hall’s exit.

“They’ve got a big investment team in place, and the deputy chief investment officer has been with them for about 13 years, so there’s a well-established process,” he said.

Mr Rae said that while investors need to be mindful of key-man risk when investing in any fund, listed or unlisted, they should consider the wider team and existing processes as well.

“If there is a key person who’s fronting the organisation, but has quite a strong team behind them, then it’s perhaps not so much of a worry,” he said.

“If that person is really the driver and the only person running the investment process with say one or two behind him, then of course that’s a big concern.”

Mr Rae said Washington H. Soul Pattinson’s proposed takeover bid, and what that will mean for the company moving forward, should be of more interest to investors at this point.

“What is important is if Washington H. Soul Pattinson is successful in acquiring more shares in the company, and I think Peter Hall has said he will sell or is likely to sell more, whether they are likely to try and change the processes and investment terms,” he said.

“That will be critical to how Hunter Hall will perform in the future.”

At the same time, however, IIR has suspended their investment rating for the company until they have "had a chance to meet with the manager and make a fuller assessment of the implications" of Mr Hall's sudden departure and possible Washington H. Soul Pattinson takeover.

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