Corporate governance LIC slashes fees, appoints portfolio manager

An ASX-listed investment company focusing on ASX 100 companies ranked by corporate governance standards has negotiated a significant reduction in its total expense ratio and appointed a portfolio manager from Evans Dixon.

Australian Governance Masters Index Fund (AQF) invests in between 75 and 85 ASX 100 companies, with a number excluded based on governance screening. Companies are weighted based on their relative weightings after said stocks are excluded from the index.

AQF's investment manager is Walsh and Company Asset Management, with whom AQF has negotiated a reduction in the total expense ratio from 0.49% of gross assets to 0.19%. AQF chair Jeff Whalan explained that "investor appetite for index funds is strong and we are keen to provide better value for investors, grow our investor-base and build AQF's scale."

"We believe that AQF's focus on both the ASX 100 and on corporate governance and accountability to shareholders has wide market appeal today. Accordingly, we have reached an agreement with the manager to lower the fee base to help ensure that AQF is the first choice for investors seeking index exposure," Whalan said.

As above, Walsh and Company also appointed a dedicated portfolio manager: William Hart. Hart joins AQF's investment team from Evans Dixon, where he was an associate director responsible for researching, structuring and executing capital markets transactions.

Prior to that, Hart was a research manager for Dixon Advisory.

"We are very pleased that Will Hart will be joining the AQF team in the role of portfolio manager," Whalan said.

"He is experience and shares the board's belief that listed companies should always be accountable to their sharheolders and that good governance matters. Through enhancement of the management and oversight of the company, we expect better value for our shareholders, while still retaining the benefits of an index approach."

Read more: AQFASXEvans DixonWalshJeff WhalanWilliam HartCompany Asset ManagementDixon AdvisoryWill Hart
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