Australian Financial Review

Why Wall Street banks have got it wrong on lithium

April 7, 2024

The market’s bearish forecast of a chronic oversupply of lithium is wrong, according to one major fund manager which expects an emerging deficit in the green metal.

Ethical Partners’ proprietary model suggests the global market for lithium is moving “rapidly back” into balance and could even be undersupplied – at odds with the view of major investment banks including Goldman Sachs and Citi.

Ethical Partners’ data is based on company filings, including during the earnings season, where almost all Australian lithium miners adjusted their production outlooks, and multiple one-on-one meetings with the producers globally to hear “from the horse’s mouth” about plans to limit production and other cost-cutting measures.

“Since November, we believe the lithium market has moved from an 8 per cent surplus in 2024 to roughly in balance,” said Sam Cox, an analyst at Ethical Partners.

“While demand will still be a key driver of price direction from here, we see green shoots … The market has yet to identify this trend, and is still looking backwards.”

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Australian Financial Review

Why you should buy these cheap stocks before somebody else does

March 21, 2024

Fund managers are hoping a new wave of buyout bids sweeping the ASX could prove a saving grace for some of the bourse’s still-burgeoning comeback stories.

Ethical Partners portfolio manager Andrew Wilson said the share prices for companies such as the country’s largest private hospital group, Ramsay Healthcare, are continuing to lag improving financial metrics.

“Ramsay has a strong balance sheet and an asset base that is world-class in nature. The market continues to price the business off near-term earnings revisions whilst ignoring the long-term value of the asset base,” he told The Australian Financial Review.

He noted that the smaller actively managed pool of capital in Australia, along with a greater reliance by investors on earnings revisions, had resulted in beaten-up stocks being ignored by the market for longer than in previous cycles.

As a result, Mr Wilson said more of the so-called “turnaround” companies on the ASX were becoming attractive takeover targets. Ramsay’s shares, for example, are still trading roughly 35 per cent below the takeover bid by private equity group KKR in 2022.

For the full article see link below.

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Australian Financial Review

Why Ramsay investors want Thodey to split it up

October 19, 2023

Still battling a COVID hangover and the fall-out of last year’s $20 billion takeover-bid-gone-bad, a bunch of shareholders want to see Ramsay offload offshore businesses, rein in its global ambitions and refocus on its core Australian operations. It would be a big strategic shift for the country’s biggest private hospital owner, and the sort of change that does not normally happen without a fresh set of hands at the wheel. Those hands are Thodey’s, who takes the chairman’s seat following Ramsay’s annual general meeting next month.

“He has a terrific opportunity to refocus the company,” says fund manager Nathan Parkin, co-founder of Sydney-based Ethical Partners, which owns Ramsay shares.

Parkin’s plan is dramatic but simple: sell Ramsay’s Malaysian business Ramsay Sime Darby (an auction is nearly at its climax), sell or demerge its French business Ramsay Sante (one of the poison pills in last year’s failed takeover), use proceeds from divestments to reduce debt, and refocus on the core Australian private hospitals business, which is the No.1 player in the market.

Whatever happens, don’t buckle to market pressure with a deeply discounted equity raising. “A highly dilutive capital raising now would be a huge mistake,” he says.

Parkin’s comments are the polite and constructive end of the spectrum, but very much in line with other fund managers in Australia and offshore.

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Livewire Markets

Is this Commonwealth Bank's "peak earnings" moment?

August 9, 2023

To discuss the CBA result and where the bank goes from here, Nathan Parkin, Investment Director and Co-Founder of Ethical Partners joined me to discuss. CBA is an overweight position in the flagship Australian Share Fund while ANZ, Macquarie Group, and Westpac are all key underweight positions in the fund.

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Australian Financial Review

Fundie Q&A: Andrew Wilson, Portfolio Manager

August 4, 2023

What’s a stock you like that (most) people haven’t heard of?

The fund is overweight a business that was originally founded as The United Ancient Order of Druids Friendly Society of NSW in 1877. I am reasonably confident that even under its new name, NobleOak Life, it fits the description of a business that many have never heard of.

Which stock in the fund do you think is most undervalued by the market?

Ramsay Healthcare is one name we see as being judged by the market on largely backward-looking factors whilst also trading at a significant discount to its asset base.

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The Australian

The affordable housing opportunity for Build to Rent residential

June 19, 2023

While much has made of the fact that Build to Rent residential (BTR)can help solve Australia’s housing shortage, one of the main benefits of thegrowth of the BTR sector in our view, is the ability to quickly and efficientlyramp up the provision of affordable housing in Australia.

We see Government incentives to the BTR sector as a potential win/ win. If incentives have the desired effect, Governments themselves will haveless pressure to fund and build new dwellings directly.

This would appear to be the perfect way to spend some of the Federal Government’s proposed $2bn of funding to the states for affordable housing – the so-called Social Housing Accelerator plan. The intent and funding are both much needed – but the practicalities of actually building the required dwellings is the real challenge.

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Australian Financial Review

Betting on smalls and avoiding the herd

June 5, 2023

Fund manager Nathan Parkin is so bullish on small caps that he has allocated almost a third of the Ethical Partners’ $2 billion Australian share fund to the asset class.

At a time of higher inflation, rising interest rates, a stuttering economic recovery in China and talk of a US recession, it’s a bold call to be overweight in an area of the market where volatility tends to be magnified during times of uncertainty and stress.

But Parkin and co-manager Andrew Wilson are sticking to their guns. They say small-cap stocks, relative to large ones, have never been so cheap, and it’s also “contrarian and different”.

And perhaps painful?

In the past 12 months as the Reserve Bank has embarked on the fastest monetary tightening in a generation, the S&P/ASX Small Ordinaries Index has fallen 5.1 per cent versus a 0.8 per cent decline for the broader ASX 300 Index against which the Ethical Partners fund is benchmarked.

“The performance of the fund has been pretty good actually,” says Parkin in an interview from the boutique asset manager’s Grosvenor St offices in Sydney. “We’ve managed that in a way that when we think about buying these things, we try and limit the downside.”

In the financial year to date, the Ethical Partners Australian share fund, after fees, is up a net 18.6 per cent versus 13.4 per cent for the index. The fund’s strategy, which has ESG at the core of its investment process, has had Parkin and Wilson buying sharesAustralian Clinical Labs, which is trying to buy Healius, as well as Wesfarmers (they own it mainly for its undervalued lithium operations).

See the article for more

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Australian Financial Review

ACL shareholder likes Healius takeover thinking

March 29, 2023

Australian Clinical Labs’ third-largest shareholder has given its blessing to management’s pursuit of rival Healius in the face of mounting obstacles, increasing its stake in the diagnostic testing company on Tuesday. Boutique fund manager Ethical Partners, headed by former Perpetual deputy head of equities Nathan Parkin and ex-Macquarie Securities desk head Matthew Nacard, lifted its ownership in ACL to 8.7 per cent from 7.7 per cent. “We think the proposal makes a lot of commercial sense,” Parkin told Street Talk. “We think there’s up to a billion dollars of value to be released on the deal moving forward – that’s a difficult number to ignore.” Parkin argues the combined entity’s share price could be “north of $5 per share”. Both companies are currently trading between $3 and $3.50.

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Money Management

Child and teen mental health and digital media

November 17, 2022

With child and teen mental health and digital media in the spotlight, should this be a fresh consideration for those building ethical portfolios?

Ethical Partners was pleased to recently talk with Alex Vargas at Money Management about this crucial question and one that relates directly to our recent major report on Child Rights across the ASX.

“Robyn Parkin, Head of Sustainability at Ethical Partners Funds Management believes this thinking is long overdue. “It's such an important issue, because digital is serious area of vulnerability for children and youth and I don't think companies or investors or advisors have necessarily looked at it enough. It's an emerging area of understanding, and something that we need to analyse and engage on,” she told Money Management.”

“Parkin’s firm Ethical Partners Funds Management and charity UNICEF Australia released a joint report in September, Integrating Child Rights across the ASX: A UNICEF Investor Tool Benchmarking Report, which benchmarked ASX-listed companies using publicly-available information. As well as looking at broader areas to do with child rights, the report contained some eye-opening statistics around digital media…….Less than 3% of S&P/ASX 200 companies disclose that they have measures in place to protect children in relation to digital services. Only 6% of S&P/ASX 200 companies disclose that they have a responsible marketing commitment on limiting their marketing to children and only 2% of S&P/ASX 200 companies disclose that they have responsible digital marketing practices in regards to children. And not a single S&P/ASX 200 company discloses that they have specific data privacy standards for children.”

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Australian Financial Review

Markets will "climb the wall of worry" says Ethical Partners' Parkin

September 15, 2022

Nathan Parkin talks about Ethical Partners'view on markets and our composite performance* over the last 12 and 24 months in light of our general reluctance to hold traditional energy stocks (particularly given where energy prices are at the moment). Selecting alternate companies to own like IGO Group and Graincorp instead of oil and gas has helped performance greatly in a more sustainable way.

He also talks about Ethical Partners' “value” style, how it looks for “credible company plans” in the investment process and the fact that “buying certainty“ at the moment is expensive versus more value oriented quality companies as lower prices.

*Composite performance mentioned in the article refers to the collective performance of Ethical Partners managed portfolios over the two years mentioned (1 Year: +2.56% relative to ASX300) and (2 Years: +2.61% relative to ASX300).

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Wishing or washing? Green investment claims under spotlight

August 4, 2022

Investment Director, Nathan Parkin was pleased to recently speak with the SMH/Age about thoughts on greenwashing, transparency, ESG in REM and ASIC’s new information sheets for Funds.

The article notes that “Ethical Partners Funds Management investment director Nathan Parkin agrees that funds should be more transparent about their approach to ESG investing”.

Nathan also noted that clear metrics, such as when companies include ESG measures in their executive remuneration, were important to combat any potential “greenwishing” at the company level.  “Tying [ESG] to remuneration over a medium timeframe makes sense,” he says. “If you don’t set the ambition, and you don’t remunerate people for it, they’re less likely to solve the issues, which need to be solved in a meaningful way.”

Nathan also notes that Ethical Partners "welcome ASIC ‘s recent information sheet, which makes some inroads in these areas by directing funds to clearly define the terminology they are using to describe their products, and explicitly explain how sustainability considerations are factored into their investment strategy.”

Ethical Partners will continue its continual engagement with companies on greenwashing, credibility of their sustainability claims and transition plans and the clear replication of these targets in governance, accountability and remuneration schemes.

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New investor strong endorsement of Qualitas

August 2, 2022

Qualitas has secured a $700 million investment mandate from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) – which is also lining up to take a near 10 per cent stake in the non-bank lender – giving it more funds to tap a developer demand for credit that remains strong even as borrowing costs rise.

The sovereign wealth fund’s injection, which could rise to $1.7 billion if it takes up the maximum 9.9 per cent stake in Qualitas, boosted opportunities for the financier at a time when interest rates and risk premiums were rising and there was less liquidity, managing director Andrew Schwartz said.

One other major investor, Ethical Partners chief executive Matt Nacard, said ADIA was taking a long-term view of Qualitas’ prospects and welcomed the investor.

“It’s a really strong endorsement, not only of the business but the business model and the market,” he said.

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Australian Financial Review

Link pay to ESG: Ethical Partners’ Parkin

August 2, 2021

Ethical Partners’ Nathan Parkin is calling for director and management pay to be linked more closely to environmental, social and governance targets, after the fund’s analysis of the top 200 companies revealed that only 20 per cent have meaningful ESG metrics in remuneration targets outside of safety and governance.

More broadly, 79 per cent of companies have sustainability reporting, though with varying degrees of quality, according to the report which examined sector targets ranging from modern slavery, net zero targets to reconciliation action plans and biodiversity targets.

“Overall things have improved meaningfully over the last few years, so that’s encouraging,” says Parkin. In 2019 only 60 per cent of companies had sustainability reporting.

Only 18 per cent of the 216 ASX companies examined had any remuneration metrics against environmental and social issues, the analysis found. Often, top companies are considered to perform better, Mr Parkin said, because surveys include metrics around safety, employee satisfaction, customers and governance.

Some 90 per cent of companies reported on gender diversity statistics, making it the area with the greatest success rate.

Mr Parkin said companies should now focus on other forms of diversity, including disability, race and reconciliation action plans which consider indigenous rights. Just one in ten of the companies had a written RAP plan. Mr Parkin said indigenous rights were also at the forefront of investors’ minds.

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FS Sustainability

ESG reporting rising but some companies lag

July 29, 2021

ESG reporting and commitments in ASX listed companies has accelerated in the last two years, but less than half of companies have set targets to cut carbon emissions.

Ethical Partners Funds Management has released its 2021 Ethical Standard Report, a biennial report representing the finds of the Ethical Partners Opportunity and Risk Assessment (EPORA).

The report looked at 216 ASX listed companies and found that 48% of companies now have set emissions targets of varying ambition, a dramatic uptick from their 2019 report, where they found 12% of companies reporting emissions. Only 28% of companies have set net zero targets to decarbonise their company operations, and 32% are currently reporting their climate change risks using the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework.

"The reporting is getting better, but we need more clear evidence of the rhetoric being backed by meaningful disclosures, particularly around integration and strategy to get there from the targets that are being set," said Ethical Partners head of sustainability Robyn Parkin. "We do have more quantity of disclosures, but we need to go to the quality of disclosures."

See link to full article

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Australian Financial Review

A money transfer to Australia landed this person in prison

April 6, 2021

Institutional investors are pushing for improved supply chain due diligence from ASX-listed companies to help combat the issue of human rights abuses of minority Muslim ethnic groups.

Ethical Partners Funds Management manages about $2.5 billion on behalf of large superannuation funds, charities and high net wealth individuals.

Robyn Parkin, head of sustainability & advocacy, said given that China is Australia’s largest trading partner – importing more than $80 billion worth of products a year – consumers and investors need a better way to check they are not supporting forced labor.

“Whilst we would still encourage government intervention and a multi-faceted approach, we strongly urge corporates to address sourcing from this region, identify this as a risk, and note what strategies they are taking to mitigate this risk in their supply chain,” she said.

“The public would be horrified if they knew they unwittingly bought sheets or clothes made from this region.”

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The Australian

IAG urged to come clean on COVID costs

November 4, 2020

Insurance Australia Group investors are putting the board on notice to swiftly address the topic of potential exposure to business interruption policies during COVID-19, given the heightened uncertainty has weighed on the company’s value.

Several insurance analysts have estimated IAG’s stock is pricing in heavy $1bn to $2bn losses from business interruption claims, yet investors are frustrated the company has not publicly addressed the risk or provided modelling on possible outcomes.

IAG — which counts brands including NRMA, CGU and Swann Insurance in its stable — is among large local insurers navigating the pandemic and tough questions around the validity of related policies.

Ethical Partners Funds Management, which holds $100m in IAG shares, has hit out on the issue. The firm has been asking management about it since April, and raised the matter with the insurer’s board last month ahead of its annual general meeting.

“It is certainly holding the stock back so the board is actually standing in the way of realising value for shareholders,” said Ethical Partners’ investment director Nathan Parkin.

“We think that by explaining their position more fulsomely that will unlock the value and it won’t be vulnerable (to a take over).

“The board needs to take this issue off the table … they need to say something sooner rather than later.”

Ethical Partners’ letter to the board — sighted by The Australian — also raised concerns around IAG’s continuous disclosure obligations given large estimates in the market around business interruption claims.

“We believe IAG should better inform the market on this important issue, with appropriate BI (business interruption) disclosures, rather than allowing the information vacuum to be filled with broker and analyst speculation,” the letter said.

“Given the potential materiality (or immateriality as the case may be) of IAG’s BI claims, it could even be argued that the company now has an ASX Listing Rule 3.1 disclosure obligation in view of the analysis.”

Click the link for the full article

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The Brisbane Times

The Directors Club

October 25, 2020

Investors and shareholders have long had a sneaking suspicion that a "club" exists when it comes to choosing ASX listed directors. Now it appears there is proof.

Amid the reluctant (and limited) bloodletting at Crown Resorts' annual meeting last week, the board ructions at Boral and the looming annual meeting season, large investors are becoming increasingly fed up with the lack of talent on boards of ASX-listed companies.

Ethical Partners investment director Nathan Parkin says the report effectively proves his long-held concerns that there is a directors "club". The former Perpetual fund manager would like to see people with more relevant industry experience rather than the same people, often with valuable legal or accounting experience, appointed to the board.

"That small, small cohort of directors control a lot of companies in Australia and it's very much an invitation-only club."

"We've been saying for a while that the directors are the only people that nominate new directors and they often come from within the same pool.

"The director pool is quite small and recycled too often and this report proves that and I think that's something that has to change going forward."

Parkin says it means that boards too often attract like-minded people, meaning that if existing board members are unlikely to challenge management, they'll look to appoint passive directors like themselves.

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Sydney Morning Herald

OPINION: Getting ethics right for future earnings prosperity

September 17, 2020

OPINION PIECE: By Nathan Parkin, Investment Director and Co-Founder of Ethical Partners

High profitability across numerous Australian industry sectors, many of which are largely consolidated with few players and perform with higher margins than global peers, has led to much wealth creation for shareholders.

However, questions remain over where to from here for earnings growth and can the market achieve higher profit growth from our current base?

There are three broad conditions that could help sustain and potentially increase the rate of earnings growth.

Firstly, companies need to have their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) house in order to have the social licence to continue to expand and seize new growth opportunities in a rapidly changing world.

The escalation of ESG awareness, conversation, technology, regulation and news flow are all contributing to ESG issues becoming more visible and company reporting more transparent.

While market and public reaction to poor ESG outcomes can be swift – as in the recent cases of AMP, Westpac and Rio Tinto – by contrast, good ESG practices can contribute to lower risk and the ability to achieve higher growth over the long term.

For more see the media link below

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Australian Financial Review

Fundie warns on results inflated by virus-related payments

August 6, 2020

The demands are growing louder for companies to fully disclose the extent to which government cash handouts and tax concessions are impacting their results.

With the August earnings season poised to be dominated by COVID-19, Matt Nacard, chief executive officer of asset manager Ethical Partners Limited, said companies must also disclose how debt or rental repayment deferrals were artificially inflating results.

"We believe that every listed company needs to outline the full extent of COVID-oriented assistance received," Mr Nacard said. "It will materially impact company results across most sectors."

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The Australian

Government must lift tax transparency to stem mining, oil and gas avoidance

July 26, 2020

Australia urgently needs to boost transparency requirements for mining and energy companies to ward against tax avoidance, offshore secrecy and businesses seeking unfair tax breaks, as government coffers are hit by COVID-19, new analysis has found. Ethical Partners Funds Management in partnership with Publish What You Pay Australia — a coalition of 30 anti-corruption, human rights, environmental, union and faith-based organisations — will release the new report on Monday. The research, undertaken in the three months to June 23, benchmarked the top 20 ASX-listed companies across the mining and energy sectors. It found just five — BHP, Fortescue, Rio Tinto, Iluka and Woodside Petroleum — had renounced the use of “artificial arrangements” for tax optim­isation.

The research also showed just 47 per cent of companies reported to the Australian Taxation Office under the Voluntary Tax Transparency Code in the 2019 financial year, compared to 67 per cent in financial 2017. Ethical Partners’ sustainability and advocacy manager Robyn Parkin said the issue of tax and disclosure for mining and energy companies was top of mind, given the COVID-19 economic turmoil and debate about social licences. “As we’ve all seen with the budget blowout, taxation is going to be an even more important issue going forward,” she added.

“It’s more about finding the (company) leaders, and those leaders in transparency will actually give us peace of mind that there is good governance all around

“... We prefer not to get to the point of AGMs (annual general meetings) and voting — we’d prefer companies to try and be leaders in this space rather than being adversarial.”

Last week’s federal budget update forecast a 4 per cent drop in company tax take this financial year due to a slowing economy.

Ethical Partners manages about $2bn, and is part of a growing contingent of investment firms focused on environmental, social and governance screens as well as financial metrics for choosing portfolio companies.

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Ethical Partners urges NSW to roll out Modern Slavery Act

July 24, 2020

Boutique group Ethical Partners Funds Management is one of 117 signatories pushing for the NSW state government to implement its Modern Slavery Act from next year. In an open letter to State Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the coalition of organisations, academics, lawyers and community leaders has called on her to expedite the passage of the NSW Modern Slavery Act so it can be brought into force from 1 January. The original act was legislated in 2018. On commencement, commercial organisations with employees in NSW and an annual turnover between $50 million and $100 million will need to submit a statement to the Anti-Slavery Commissioner, outlining the steps they have taken to reduce the risk of modern slavery across their operations and supply chains. Ethical Partners Funds Management sustainability and advocacy manager Robyn Parkin is one of the signatories listed in the letter.

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The Australian

ASIC puts companies on notice over COVID-19 as reporting season looms

July 8, 2020

The securities regulator has put corporate Australia on notice it will be scrutinising how the COVID-19 pandemic will be treated in their accounts during the upcoming reporting season, demanding the hit from the virus to be explained clearly to investors.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission wants companies to provide clear and meaningful disclosures on both negative and positive impacts stemming from the pandemic on asset values, supply chains, and provisions, while also giving an update on solvency.

“In the current environment, the quality of financial reports and related disclosures is more important than ever for investors and to maintain confident and informed markets,” said ASIC chairman James Shipton.

Ethical Partners Funds Management investment director Nathan Parkin said he would be looking for companies “to be explicit” about the benefits of lower rental payments and any government assistance.

“A number of companies have already reported better-than-expected revenue and profits through COVID-19 but have not been specific about the impact of one-off reduced expenses. This is important to establish a normal run rate for profit in financial 2021,” he said.

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Sydney Morning Herald

Climate revolt looms for Woodside on gas emissions goals

April 27, 2020

Australia's largest oil and gas producer, Woodside, is headed for a clash with investors over demands to slash greenhouse gas emissions as influential shareholder advisors recommend defying the board and backing calls for bolder climate action. Motions pushing for Woodside to commit to hard targets to curb direct emissions and emissions created by the end-users of its products – known as "Scope 3" emissions – are likely to attract considerable support at an investor meeting on Thursday after key proxy advisory firms urged shareholders to vote against the board.

Woodside, which has an ambition for "net zero" emissions for its own operations by 2050, has urged shareholders to vote down the resolutions, saying it was supportive of the Paris climate accord's goals to limit global warming well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels and its gas exports were helping to displace higher-emissions fuel sources such as coal-fired power.

Woodside shareholder Ethical Partners, which supports the climate resolutions, said disclosure was important and the introduction of Scope 3 goals across the resources sector was an inevitability. "Scope 3 is inevitable and important," Ethical Partners investment director Nathan Parkin told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. "It won't be solved overnight, but we think it should be disclosed."

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CSL on the defence over migrant plasma donors

April 24, 2020

Australia’s largest listed company, CSL, has defended its position as an ethical provider of needed blood plasma that is made into life saving medicines, after a report raised concerns around the possible exploitation of donors in its quest for liquid gold.

The $142 billion company was the subject of the controversial report by Credit Suisse’s ESG team, led by Phin Glover and Gretel Janu, that investigated whether the biotech was setting up collection facilities in disadvantaged areas of the United States, one of the few countries where donors can be paid to donate plasma.

CSL says the US supplies about 70 per cent of the world’s plasma requirements, and without the paid model there would not be enough plasma to meet global demand. Penny Stephens

Nathan Parkin, of Ethical Partners, said his firm already held a maximum underweight position, citing valuation and ESG risks as the main reasons, and that this positioning had hurt relative performance to date.

He said his firm had analysed the plasma collection issue as part of the work into human rights and supply chains, and key issues were the vulnerability of some donors and possible health effects around the frequency of donations.

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The Australian

Banks strong enough to keep on paying dividends

April 2, 2020

Ethical Partners Funds Management’s Nathan Parkin said the banks could continue to pay ­dividends, but if the external situation worsened, they could instead step up their dividend reinvestment plans to conserve cash flows. That would involve the issue of shares as some investors would opt to reinvest over taking cash. “That could be a better way to handle it,” Mr Parkin said, as retail investors would take a “serious hit” if bank dividends were suspended entirely because they ­accounted for 42-55 per cent of the major banks’ shareholder ­registers. “There is obviously going to be a need for debt provisioning that reflects the economic impacts. That will impact their [banks] level of dividends,” he added. “We don’t think that negates their ability to pay any dividends.”

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Australian Financial Review

Ethical investor steers clear of 'risky' aged care

March 6, 2020

Ethical Partners Funds Management chief executive Matt Nacard says ethical risks of investing in the listed aged care sector are too high, and areas like human rights are gaining increased focus by its investors. "Aged care deals with human beings in their most vulnerable state," he said. "[Yet] many of these companies don’t have human rights polices – which was quite astounding to us." The listed aged care stocks are not part of Ethical Partners' invastable universe. Ethical Partners, along with the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, said in their submission to the royal commission that it strongly believes companies that treat the world and people in a better way will do better than the broader market in the long run. "We made this submission because we believe shareholders have got a really important and often under-utilised voice to speak for things like this," said Robyn Parkin, Ethical Partners' head of sustainability research and advocacy

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Australian Financial Review

Why there's more to GWA than green washing

February 24, 2020

Tap and toilet manufacturer GWA International is among the share market's most shorted stocks. It's also attracting investors who see potential in the company's role in greening office buildings. Up, down, sideways: few issues get more heated than the future direction of the residential housing market. Which goes some way to explaining the division around toilet and tap manufacturer GWA International, the company that brought the dual flush loo to Australia. The $1 billion company - often dismissed as a "boring industrial" - is now among the market's 10 most shorted stocks, though that short interest has eased slightly since November when it peaked at 15 per cent, according to The owner of the bathroom brand Caroma and New Zealand's Methven, said stronger signs were emerging that the housing market could return to growth in 2021. Helpfully too, the coronavirus wasn't affecting supply from Chinese plants so far. GWA shares are far above their $2.88 October lows, having nearly reached $4 in the past weeks, before falling back slightly after the results.

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Australian Financial Review

Cashing in on the crisis (Westpac)

November 30, 2019

In the business world, crises don't come much bigger than the scandal engulfing Australia's oldest bank, Westpac, over allegations it breached anti-money laundering laws 23 million times and may have financed child pornography and exploitation. Fund manager Nathan Parkin, who was formerly deputy head of equities at Perpetual and is now investment director at Ethical Partners, is not convinced the damage will just be in the short term. "The shocking nature of the allegations, and especially the exploitation element, does affect the brand long term and could affect the flow of business in mortgages and deposits," says Parkin, who has been reducing his fund's already underweight exposure to Westpac in the days since the crisis began.

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The Australian

Investors demand action by Westpac

November 25, 2019

Investors and proxy advisers ramped up pressure on Westpac’s embattled board on Monday, demanding answers, and further ­action on compliance failings and accountability for 23 million alleged breaches of the law. Ethical Partners Funds Management investment director Nathan Parkin said more accountability was required at Westpac as large fines would result from the Austrac action. “In the midst of cash (Austrac penalty) going out the door of shareholders’ funds ... who says that’s OK, let’s just go on?” Mr Parkin said. “The bank needs to show someone is accountable for the large fine and penalties that are likely to occur,” he added, noting accountability had to occur at a “high level”. Ethical Partners owns Westpac stock, but moved underweight on the shares in May, after paring its stake on concerns the bank had been “too slow to act” on its capital position and cutting its dividend. It has further reduced its Westpac position on the back of the legal ­allegations.

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Westpac ‘Unreservedly’ Apologizes For Links to Child Abuse Funds

November 22, 2019

Westpac Banking Corp.’s board stood behind its management team on Friday, offering embattled chief executive Brian Hartzer some respite from mounting criticism over allegations of a breach of money-laundering laws, including failing to detect payments linked to child abuse. The “allegations clearly indicate there may have been a lack of attention to” human-rights issues “within the corporate culture of Westpac,” Ethical Partners Funds Management CEO Matt Nacard and Chief Investment Officer Nathan Parkin said in a statement. The fund has sold some of its Westpac shares since the allegations were aired, they said.

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Excellent Investor

ASX rout opens door to selective buying

October 19, 2019

After a horror October so far, the Aussie sharemarket is the cheapest it’s been since 2015.  The benchmark ASX 200 index is trading on a 12-month forward price-to-earnings ratio of 14.7 after starting the month at 16, according to JP Morgan. Nathan Parkin of Ethical Partners Funds Management is similarly inclined to see more opportunities than risks from the sell-down.  The turmoil has “shaken people out of positions at the wrong price for them and at the right price for us” is how Parkin puts it.  It’s not often that you get a chance to top up your positions across your portfolio at a good price, but now is one such time, he says. Parkin is not as gloomy about the housing market as many, and sees great value in building materials firm CSR and has added to his position in recent days.

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Australian Financial Review

Seven questions with Nathan Parkin

October 7, 2019

Have you participated in the market's rotation and do you believe the slight re-rating of value will stick?

A very crowded momentum trade, including low volatility and high P/E growth stocks,  shifted somewhat towards value and cyclical stocks during September. Our funds are heavily positioned in value stocks, cyclicals and small caps and have started to benefit from this shift. We think there are good grounds for this to continue. (For the other six questions click through to the full article)

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Super Review

Christian Super grants mandate to Ethical Partners FM

September 24, 2019

Superannuation fund, Christian Super has announced the appointment of Ethical Partners Funds Management, an independent boutique with funds under management (FUM) of $1.6 billion, for its Australian equities mandate.

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Industry Moves

Ethical Partners Australian Share Fund Launch

September 1, 2019

Ethical Partners Funds Management has launched the Ethical Partners Australian Share Fund, an ethical fund which will invest in 30 to 50 stocks on the S&P/ASX 300.

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Australian Financial Review

Property industry leads on assessing slavery supply chain risks

April 14, 2019

Dexus, Vicinity and Mirvac are three REIT operators taking the biggest steps to identify supply chain risks that are going to become an issue for large Australian companies when new federal and state anti-slavery legislation comes into effect next year, fund manager Ethical Partners says. Dexus, which has already has an embargo policy for suppliers that do not meet its modern slavery standards, Vicinity, which reviewed security contracts at its malls and changed some providers based on their employment practices, and Mirvac which is about to take a "deep dive" into its cleaning services supply chain, are the leading companies Ethical Partners chief executive Matt Nacard said.

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Australian Financial Review

Fewer Keep Cups, more substance needed in sustainability reporting

April 13, 2019

Most sustainability reports fail to address matters of substance and provide information filled with positive optics but limited depth, according to the $1.5 billion Australian investment firm Ethical Partners. Ethical Partners published its annual ethical standards report last week, concluding that while transparency around sustainability issues is generally improving, it is of a "low standard" except for a handful of high achievers. The fund manager evaluated 214 stocks, of which 58 companies improved disclosure and 14 regressed. The 14 companies where reporting got worse were marked down on account of deteriorating worker safety or emissions, underpayment of employees and an absence of clear targets in relation to saving water, energy or waste, among other things.

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Australian Financial Review

Feel-good funds hold their own

March 19, 2019

It’s the ultimate feel-good investment, a fund that eschews tobacco, coal, alcohol, gambling, firearms and big pharma. Supporters say that these funds are making the world a better place but critics believe that environmental, social and corporate governance strategies are little more than the latest sophisticated money-making marketing tool. "To us it’s about buying everyday companies that do things well," says Ethical Partners Funds Management chief executive Matt Nacard.

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Australian Financial Review

Ethical Partners Funds Management look to invest in ASX's everyday heroes

September 23, 2018

Sitting in the "middle of nowhere" in Cambodia, surrounded by kids with few of the privileges enjoyed by the average Australian, tends to provide some perspective. "You get some clarity around what you want to do," says Matt Nacard, co-founder of Ethical Partners Funds Management. Accompanying Nacard on that school-building mission was Nathan Parkin, then a star stock picker and fund manager at investment powerhouse Perpetual. Accompanying Nacard on that school-building mission was Nathan Parkin, then a star stock picker and fund manager at investment powerhouse Perpetual. The two had first met professionally many years ago – Nacard is a former co-head of Asian equities at Macquarie. The duo became friends, then their families became close. In addition to their day jobs, both were heavily involved in philanthropic activities. Nacard was on Macquarie's Foundation Global Board, while Parkin and his family had raised money to build two child and maternity health centres in Cambodia.

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Australian Financial Review

Ex-Perpetual fundie readies $3 billion ethical pitch

February 20, 2018

Former Perpetual Investments rising star Nathan Parkin is making an ambitious return to local funds management, seeking to raise $3 billion for a new ethical investment fund. Street Talk understands Parkin, who left Perpetual abruptly in late 2016, has teamed up with former Macquarie Securities equities desk head Matthew Nacard to establish new boutique Ethical Partners Funds Management. Sources said the pair had set up office in Sydney's Pitt Street - not far from Parkin's old hunting ground at Angel Place - and were in the process of obtaining an Australian Financial Services Licence so they could start managing money.

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