Stock picker feeling the pressure of the single shot selection

Geoff Wilson is feeling the pressure. The founder and chairman of Wilson Asset Management is no stranger to big calls running a business with $3 billion under management and 80,000 customers.

The reason for the pressure is that Wilson is at the final stages of picking a stock - a single stock - that will be one of his key contributions to a novel half billion dollar investment vehicle with a charity twist.

The Hearts & Minds Investments Ltd listed investment company (LIC), which opens for retail interest on Monday, is tied to the Sohn Hearts & Minds event.

One of the signature parts of the event sees the nation's best fund managers present their top tip to the audience. Ten of those tips will form the basis 40 per cent of the 25 stocks that will make up the Hearts & Minds LIC portfolio.

"There is enormous pressure to perform, the stock you select, you select after being very confident. Normally you manage in a portfolio, here I have to pick one stock, everyone takes it very seriously," he said.

Mr Wilson said he had narrowed his consideration to two stocks but declined to give any hints on which companies he would tip before the event.

Last year's tips were heavy on tech stocks and the top ten performers produced returns stretching from 17 per cent to above 100 per cent at the same time as the Australian market has largely tracked sideways.


Mr Wilson said the other 60 per cent of the LIC's holdings would be more "thematic", with a longer investment horizon and reviewed quarterly.

Those longer term investments would be assessed on a more dynamic basis by the fund's board, chaired by Chris Cuffe, on the basis of recommendations from five top fund managers.

The directors and the funds are offering their expertise pro-bono. The funds represented are Caledonia, Cooper Investors, Magellan Asset Management, Paradice Investment Management and Regal Funds Management.

"When Matthew Grounds asked if I wanted to be on the board of this I thought 'what a great opportunity'," he said.


The managers that have been picked are the best Australian and global fund managers and you are getting their best ideas as well.

Geoff Wilson


"The great thing is it is really giving all Australians the opportunity to invest in a philanthropic wealth creation vehicle with some of the smartest investors and fund managers in Australia.

"You have got an opportunity to get in investing with the smart money. The managers that have been picked are the best Australian and global fund managers and you are getting their best ideas as well."

The offering, which closes on November 6, is aiming to raise $500 million at $2.50 per share with an eye to listing on the ASX on November 21.

About $20 million would be invested in each stock selection, he said, with about 60 to 70 per cent of the investments likely to be offshore.

Mr Wilson said the recent market turmoil and associated dips boded well for the timing of the LIC's launch.

"This volatility has taken the froth out of the market... everything will be a lot better value," he said.

The fund has already attracted $225 million in commitments from high net worth individuals and organisations including the Lowy family, the Packer Family, David Gonski, Solomon Lew, Paul Little and the Paul Ramsay Foundation.

Twice a year the LIC will donate 1.5 per cent of its net tangible assets to designated charities including Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Black Dog Institute and the Charlie Teo Foundation with the donations guaranteed regardless of performance.

Mr Wilson has already established two LICS with similar philanthropic model but with a much broader portfolio.


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