Fund chaired by Shane Ross suffers large financial loss
A British investment fund chaired by Independent TD Shane Ross has become embroiled in difficulty after the departure of a key manager and large financial losses.
A subsequent investigation by accountants PwC “raised a number of rectifiable control, process and accounting issues”. Two days ago, the fund nominated a new investment management firm.
The £118.1 million (€138.3 million) SVM Global Fund, which is listed on the London stock exchange, has investments in eastern Europe, Russia and other markets. It has lost 32.4 per cent of its value in the last five years, a period in which global stock markets have gained 17.7 per cent.
Mr Ross, non-executive chairman of SVM Global, is a trenchant critic of underperformance in Irish business.
In the Dáil this week, he sponsored a motion calling on the Coalition to default on €3.1 billion Anglo Irish Bank promissory note next month.
Official filings show one of two SVM Global co-managers resigned last August, after which the value of the fund’s assets was written down by 13 per cent.
The board then ordered an in-depth investigation by accountants PwC and held an intensive series of meetings with investors over several weeks.
The board instructed the fund’s then manager, SVM Asset Management, to execute recommendations from PwC’s inquiry into controls, valuations and procedures.
Unveiling a £20.8 million pre-tax loss in December, Mr Ross told investors the board had discussed the option of winding up SVM Global.
The board decided, however, to review its new fund management arrangement and chose Henderson Global Investors this week.
“The directors have changed the fund manager to Henderson’s in response to underperformance at SVM Global,” Mr Ross said.
“We are putting the package to shareholders, putting ourselves up for re-election and putting the audit out to tender.” The current auditor is Ernst Young.
In a filing on Wednesday, Mr Ross said the board was confident that “in due course the fund will again outperform its peers”.