16 questions asked at 2022 Platinum Asset Management AGM

January 18, 2023

Here is the text of the 16 questions asked at the 2022 Platinum Asset Management hybrid AGM held on November 16. Watch video archive of 2 hour and 22 minute AGM.

1. Platinum was one of the first fund managers to list on the ASX and is today capitalised at $1.1 billion. Rival fund manager GQG has a market capitalisation of $4.4 billion, Pinnacle and Magellan are both capitalised at $1.9 billion and Pendal is worth $1.6 billion. Why have we under-performed and why aren't we participating in any of this takeover activity involving Regal, Perpetual and Pendal?

2. Thank you for disclosing the proxy position to the ASX early along with the formal addresses. When disclosing the outcome of all resolutions today, will you adopt an additional voluntary transparency measure and publicly disclose how many shareholders voted for and against each item, similar to what happens with a scheme of arrangement? This will provide a better gauge of retail shareholder sentiment on all resolutions and was a disclosure initiative recently adopted by the likes of Tabcorp, Webjet, Dexus, Metcash and Southern Cross Media after their AGMs.

3. Kerr Neilson will be a big loss but could Anne please comment on how she thinks the founder's departure will change the dynamics inside the boardroom. Also, Kerr and the CEO have worked together for many years. As the largest shareholder, what does Anne and the independent chair think about future contact and information flows between the CEO and founder, once the founder is off the board.

4. Kerr Neilson will remain the largest shareholder on departing from the board. Who will be the voice of our biggest shareholder in the board room and could Elizabeth Norman comment on whether the independent directors sought to persuade Kerr to stay or to negotiate an agreement where he was publicly committed to not selling down his stake, particularly given the recent history at Magellan.

5. Could Philip Moffitt and the chair comment on the recruitment process that saw Phillip offered a position on the board. Was a head hunter involved? Did the full board interview Philip and did they interview any other candidates? Did Philip know any of our directors before engaging with the recruitment process?

6. The turn out in the proxy votes was only around 30% on all resolutions. Could Andrew clarify whether he voted on any or all of the resolutions today and is it correct that Kerr Neislon hasn't voted any of his 21.48% stake, including on this resolution dealing with Andrew's LTI grant.

7. As a co-founder of the business, Andrew already has as lot of incentive through owning 32 million shares or more than 5% of the company. James and Kerry Packer used to work for free at their public companies, instead just relying on the dividends and rising share price. Given his large equity position, did Andrew consider not including himself in this LTI grant, particularly given the recent poor performance of the share price.

8. Could the CEO or Elizabeth summarise her past LTI grants as to whether they have vested or lapsed. Also, has Elizabeth ever sold any Platinum ordinary shares or bought any on market without relying on an incentive scheme to build her equity position in the company?

9. Could the CEO or Andrew Stannard summarise Andrew's past LTI grants as to whether they have vested or lapsed. Also, has Andrew ever sold any Platinum ordinary shares or bought any on market without relying on an incentive scheme to build his equity position in the company?

10. Given the low barriers to entry, rise of ETFs and ongoing rise of industry funds, it sounds like our sector in the market is structurally challenged. After floating at $5 and with the stock now at $1.86, the long term performance has been poor for shareholders but those who sold into the float did very well. Could the CEO please expand on what he meant by other fund managers causing severe damage to client portfolios. Is that a reference to Magellan? And how does he retain his interest in the business when he doesn't need to work and it seems to be a case of managed decline?

11. Well done on adjusting the rem structure to avoid a second strike. Fund managers are not deemed to be KMP and so their pay arrangements are sometimes not disclosed. How many of our fund managers are being paid more than the lowest paid KMP disclosed in the remuneration report?

12. Those comments on the floor were effectively saying that we got out-marketed by Magellan which heavily duchessed financial planners and grew like topsy, cutting our lunch in a FUM sense. Given the debacle at Magellan, I personally a comfortable with the Platinum approach of pointing to the investment scoreboard rather than paying big commissions for an over-priced funds management business like Magellan did. That said, we clearly could have done distribution better.

13. If an Aware member asked Philip whether they should take their money out of Aware and instead go with Platinum, what would he say? Is it possible to sit on boards and both sides of the industry fund and commercial fund manager divide? That said, Philip has a great and relevant CV for Platinum

14. This is our last opportunity to hear from founder Kerr Neilson at a Platinum AGM. Could he please make some comments reflecting on his journey and also deal with the elephant in the room, namely takeover activity and founder sell downs. Hamish Douglass founded Magellan, quit the board and recently sold down. Could Kerr please address the questions of whether he is a long term holder of Platinum and whether he is open to any control transactions, given the structural challenges of the industry and the push for scale as part of the solution.

Answer: gave a 5 minute speech bagging money printing, pointing to the risks of ETF timing, suggesting Platinum be less strident and playing done the idea that his 21.5% stake is that important.

15. I don't mind Kerr having full access to Platinum people as the founder and largest shareholder. His knowledge would be invaluable. However, would it not make sense for him to have a couple of formal nominees on the board to represent his 21% stake.

Answer: not asked.

16. Final question. That was a very lively AGM in difficult circumstances with a lot of territory covered both on the floor and online. Thank you for allowing multiple directors to speak and for not censoring any questions or shirking difficult issues. Well done. Will you commit to holding a hybrid meeting again next year plus making the webcast of this meeting available to any of the 25,000 retail shareholders who were unable to attend or participate live.