In 2016, Matthew Grounds AM had just taken over as Chairman of the world-renowned Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and, alongside the Board, he was seeking sustainable funding solutions for the Institute. Around the same time, Dr Gary Weiss AM, a fellow Director, had recently returned from the Sohn Conference in New York, and inspired by its success, proposed hosting a similar event in Australia. 

The idea quickly gained traction. Gary and Matthew first went to Ian Narev, the then CEO of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and separately to Len Ainsworth, with a ‘blank piece of paper’ outlining what it could look like. Both provided substantial early support. Matthew then enlisted his long-time business partner, Guy Fowler OAM, to help bring the concept to life, and the Sohn Hearts & Minds Conference was born.

The team grew to include Creative Director Jonathan Pease (JP), Michael Walsh and Maggie O’Neill who transformed this vision into reality. Together, this founding team continues to create unexpected experiences each year.

Australia's Premier Investor Conference

The inaugural Sohn Hearts & Minds event, held at the iconic Sydney Opera House, featured Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital as the keynote, addressing a sold-out audience shortly after the 2016 US election. This first conference was a resounding success, raising $4 million for medical research organisations: the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Black Dog Institute, MS Australia, and JDRF Australia.

Now Australia's premier investment and philanthropy event, Sohn Hearts & Minds gathers industry leaders for a dynamic day of exclusive idea-sharing, all in support of medical research. Over the years, Hearts and Minds has hosted industry legends like Ray Dalio, Charlie Munger, Dan Loeb, Cathie Wood and Bill Ackman, luminaries such as longevity expert Peter Attia MD, Red Notice author Bill Browder, entrepreneur Prof Scott Galloway and behavioural scientist Prof Dan Ariely and entertainers including Andrew Denton, Daryl Braithwaite and The Mark Seymour Trio of Hunters & Collectors.

Inspired by the successful format of the Sohn New York Conference, Hearts and Minds is proud to be the exclusive Australian affiliate. The Sohn Conference Foundation was established in 1995 by Evan Sohn in memory of his brother Ira, a Wall St banker who passed away prematurely. The Foundation raises funds for medical research through annual events held in ten cities worldwide.

Sohn-Conference-2022 Sohn Hearts & Minds Conference, Melbourne 2018 

Listed Investment Company (HM1)

Impressed by the high-performing stock picks presented at the inaugural conference, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) was established by Guy and Matthew for family offices to invest in the ideas pitched at the 2017 conference. Returns over 8% were split evenly between investors and medical research organisations, resulting in a $1 million donation.

Off the back of this strong performance, Guy and Matthew set about establishing a listed investment company, Hearts and Minds Investments Limited (HM1). Supported by Australia's largest families, universities, and high net worth individuals, HM1 was listed on the ASX following an oversubscribed IPO in November 2018, with Chris Cuffe AO as Chairman.

HM1 ASX Listing Ceremony. L-R: Dominic Stevens (former ASX CEO), Matthew Grounds AM, Guy Fowler OAM and Chairman Chris Cuffe (AO)

HM1 is a unique global investment portfolio of 25-30 positions, recommended by selected managers from each Sohn Hearts & Minds Conference, as well as seven Core Fund Managers. These managers each provide their high conviction stock recommendations pro bono, allowing HM1 to donate typical management fees to leading Australian medical research organisations.

Watch our initial listing video to learn more about the establishment of HM1 (filmed 2018):

A Win-Win-Win Model

Today, Hearts and Minds is proud to be one of Australia's top corporate philanthropists, having contributed over $65 million to Australian medical research since its inception. You can learn more about Hearts and Minds’ impact here.

Hearts and Minds is only possible thanks to our many supporters who have dedicated their time, expertise, networks and capital over the years.

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