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 has over time handed over his various portfolio management responsibilities to other global portfolio managers in the team.
With the full endorsement of the Board, Mr Neilson handed over the role of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Platinum Group to Andrew Clifford on 1 July 2018. From this time until August 2020, he remained an Executive Director and also worked as an analyst on the generation of investment ideas within the investment team. From 31 August 2020, Mr Neilson became a Non-Executive Director of Platinum.
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.