Five years ago on 30 May 2016, we rang the bell at the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) as the first WAM Leaders (ASX: WLE) shares traded following the Company’s $394.3 million initial public offering (IPO).
Since then, we have significantly grown WAM Leaders to $1.2 billion to the benefit of all shareholders through continuous outperformance and capital raisings.
Lead Portfolio Manager Matthew Haupt, Portfolio Manager John Ayoub, and one of our newest and greatest recruits, Equity Analyst Anna Milne, have applied a rigorous investment process, focused on large-cap companies with compelling fundamentals, a robust macroeconomic thematic and a catalyst, to deliver strong outperformance over all periods since inception.
Over an 18-month period from listing on the ASX, overwhelming support for the one-for-one bonus option attached to each share issued in the IPO saw the Company grow by $377.4 million, as 95.7% of options were exercised. In late 2020, a Share Purchase Plan raised more than $53 million.
Shareholders who participated in the IPO and continued to hold their shares until now have received a total shareholder return of 62.3% on the 30 April 2021 share price, assuming the reinvestment of the 23.65 cents per share in fully franked dividends paid since inception.
As a shareholder of WAM Leaders, I have been pleased with the performance of the Company, and as Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Wilson Asset Management, I am particularly thankful to Matt and the team for ensuring the success of our first listed investment company to expand our offering beyond undervalued growth companies focused on the small-to-mid cap segment of the Australian market. Matt recently marked 10 years with Wilson Asset Management, he is an exceptional thinker and a highly valued member of the team and we all appreciate his commitment.
Thank you Matt, John and Anna, and thank you all WAM Leaders shareholders for your continued support.
Geoff Wilson AO
Chairman & Chief Investment Officer