Given recent media coverage regarding Magellan and its Chairman and Chief Investment Officer Hamish Douglass, we are writing to provide you with an update on these events.

As you may have already read, Hamish Douglass is taking a medical leave of absence from his position as Chairperson and Chief Investment Officer of Magellan. This medical leave follows a period of speculation regarding Hamish’s personal life and some instability for Magellan, including:

  • Former Chair, Brett Cairns, resigning and leaving Magellan in early December 2021;
  • The Magellan Global Fund suffering significant outflows including the loss of their biggest mandate of $23bn from institutional investor St James’s Place; and
  • Significant underperformance by the Magellan Global fund of the benchmark since April 2020

Whilst there has been a particular focus in the media regarding the Magellan Financial Group (ASX code MFG) share price which has declined circa 70% from its pre-Covid high of $73 in February 2020, it is important to note that investors in the Magellan managed funds including the Magellan Global Fund and Magellan Infrastructure fund, have no exposure to MFG.


Given recent events, the Infocus Research team have undertaken a review of Magellan and the Magellan Global Fund. The Magellan Infrastructure Fund was excluded from the review as Hamish is not a key investment decision maker for this strategy.

Magellan hosted a researcher briefing yesterday to address these matters and advise of the changes they are making to accommodate for Hamish’s medical leave of absence.  The Infocus Research team were in attendance.

Changes Announced

To manage for Hamish’s leave of absence Magellan have:

  • Brought Chris Mackay (co-founder of Magellan with Hamish) back in to head up the portfolio management of global equity capability.
  • Appointed Nikki Thomas as Portfolio Manager for the Global Fund. Nikki previously spent 11 years (2007 to 2018) at Magellan as a Portfolio Manager and Head of Research. Her most recent role prior to commencing with Magellan was with Alphinity as a global equity Portfolio Manager.
  • At the corporate level, Deputy Chairman Hamish McLennan will take over as Chair of the Magellan Financial Group for the extent of Haimish Douglass’s leave of absence and the appointment of a new CEO is at an advanced stage.


The announcement of Hamish’s leave occurring on top of the other recent changes and investment underperformance means that Magellan is now seeking to reassure the market that the organisation is stable. The business is now facing headwinds to maintain funds under management, retain research ratings and is under pressure to turnaround performance.

That said, the Infocus Research team have a high degree of confidence in the ability of Chris Mackay to lead the investment management team, noting his strong track record as an investor. They took from Chris’s presentation yesterday that while there will likely be some adjustments to the portfolios, it will largely be ‘business as usual’ for the Magellan Global Fund from an investment philosophy and process perspective.

The appointment of Nikki as the dedicated Portfolio Manager for the Magellan Global Fund is a strong and philosophically aligned appointment and supportive of the ‘business as usual’ message. We note that other key investment positions will remain unchanged and that Magellan has very good bench strength (despite outward appearances and Hamish’s rock star like persona). With Chris at the helm, at this stage it is expected that Magellan’s focus on high quality franchise businesses will be maintained.

We note that the Magellan Global Fund’s top ten holdings as at 31 December 2021 were as follows:

Top 10 holding as at 31 December 2021


Alphabet (Google)
Yum Brands
Intercontinental Exchange
Meta Platforms (Facebook)
Exposure %


While we are concerned for Hamish’s health and wish him a speedy recovery, we have considered the Magellan Global Fund’s position and have concluded that Magellan remains philosophically consistent to their investment thesis and capital market views. We don’t believe this will change under the stewardship of the very highly regarded Chris Mackay, Nikki Thomas and the rest of the Magellan investment team.

While recent events have been destabilising, we believe the Magellan Global Fund to be well managed and invested in high quality businesses.

That being the case we generally consider that no immediate action is required. Rest assured, we will continue to monitor the situation at Magellan and the performance of the Magellan Global Fund and will consider the fund’s role within your personal portfolio as part of your next review.

In the meantime, should you have any further queries or concerns please get in touch with us at the office.


Seek out further advice and start your journey to being free around your money and creating wealth with understanding.


Scott Malcolm has been awarded the internationally recognised Certified Financial Planner designation from the Financial Planning Association of Australia and is Director of Money Mechanics.  Money Mechanics is a fee for service financial advice firm who partner with clients in Melbourne, Canberra, Newcastle and Sydney to achieve their life and wealth outcomes. Money Mechanics Pty Ltd (ABN 64 136 066 272) is a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 336429) of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 47 097 797 049) AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523

The information provided on this article is of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on this information you should consider its appropriateness having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.