Kerr, with the help of Andrew Clifford, founded Platinum in 1994 with a view to making money for investors. The emphasis was on continuing the successful investment approach he had employed previously. This entailed building portfolios of misunderstood companies that were experiencing change or mispricing due to transient factors or intuitive biases applied by market participants at large. By investing in companies around the world, unconstrained by index weighting or other pre-determined allocation parameters, Platinum owned genuinely differentiated portfolios and produced outstanding investment returns.
From day one Kerr and the team eschewed the use of hard selling techniques, maintaining that if our performance can withstand the test of time, there should never be a need for such tactic; whereas, if Platinum fails to generate satisfactory returns for investors, then the firm should not continue. Prior success, notably, sidestepping the 1987 crash, ensured that from the outset there were willing investors prepared to give Kerr and his team sufficient support to gradually build the business and, fortunately, Platinum’s performance over the years has proven the longevity of our approach.
As Platinum’s investment philosophy and process became systematically inculcated within the team, Kerr stepped down as the Chief Investment Officer in 2013, and in time a greater share of the funds is being spread among other portfolio managers. As the company’s CEO and Managing Director, Kerr remains fully engaged in the business.
The benefits of Kerr’s endeavours over the decades are also being felt beyond Platinum’s investors as the Neilson Foundation pursues its mission of social inclusion.