The fund manager continued to channel his great hero Warren Buffett as he addressed Magellan shareholders at the group’s AGM this week.
After recently swapping jobs with Brett Cairns (who became CEO, while Douglass became chairman) the Magellan founder remains the fund’s leader when it comes to investment strategy.
“I continue to look after the investment functions of Magellan in my role as chief investment officer and remain focused on developing the strategy for the group in conjunction with Brett and the board,” Mr Douglass said.
“I continue to skip to work every day and have never been happier or more engaged. I can assure you I am not going anywhere – I love what I do at Magellan.”
“Skipping to work” is an obvious tip of the hat to Warren Buffet, who famously said that he tap dances to the office every morning. After a McDonald’s breakfast of course (Magellan is also heavily invested in the fast food giant).
While Magellan reported a 78 per cent increase in NPAT to $376.9 million for the 2019 financial year, Mr Douglass said it is important that shareholders appreciate that they don’t come first.
“We will act in the interests of our clients and employees even if it comes at financial cost to our reported profits,” he explained. “We believe this mindset of putting our clients and employees first is the best model to create significant long-term shareholder value,” he said.
In his 2005 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Warren Buffett talked of “delighting customers” when he wrote that “every day, in countless ways, the competitive position of each of our businesses grows either weaker or stronger.
“If we are delighting customers, eliminating unnecessary costs and improving our products and services, we gain strength. But if we treat customers with indifference or tolerate bloat, our businesses will wither. On a daily basis, the effects of our actions are imperceptible; cumulatively, though, their consequences are enormous,” he said.
Warren Buffett’s philosophy is a core part of Hamish Douglass’s passion as a professional investor. Back in the eighties when he was a young graduate working at Schroders, his colleague and Magellan co-founder Chris MacKay dumped 20 years of Berkshire Hathaway reports on his desk. Douglass read them all.
More importantly, he continues to read them, study them and over the years has attended Berkshire Hathaway AGMs.
Magellan started in 2006 and managed to raise just under $500 million. Today the fund manager is approaching $100 billion in FUM and has a market cap of $9 billion.