Managed by Arowana, the Contrarian Value Fund (CVF) was a listed investment company that commenced trading on the ASX in January 2015. CVF’s investment mandate was to identify materially mispriced securities that provided positive risk asymmetry using data-driven fundamental analysis combined with machine learning algorithmic analytics.

CVF was formerly known as the Australasian Value Opportunities Fund (AVOF), which was established as an unlisted fund in 2009. From 1 July 2009 through 30 September 2014, AVOF produced an annualised net return of 18.4% (without any leverage) compared to the S&P/ASX 200 return of 10.5%, beating the index by nearly 8% per annum. It was this track record that led to investor appetite for an LIC version of the fund.

As we reflect on our journey at the 10-year anniversary mark, we came to the realisation that a contrarian value style and being listed on a stock exchange are diametrically incompatible, especially in a heavily momentum-biased market. A contrarian value style tends to take a few years to pay off and does so in a non-linear manner, which runs counter to the listed market’s more short-term focus.

In December 2020, after an extensive strategic review, the Independent Board of CVF recommended liquidating the portfolio and returning capital to shareholders, with Arowana retiring as the manager of the CVF following payment of a termination fee. Since its IPO until the liquidation, CVF has delivered annualised net returns of 8.6% compared to the S&P/ASX 200 return of 7.7% for an outperformance of 0.9% (excluding costs associated with the liquidation, annualised performance was 8.9%, for an outperformance of 1.2%).

This was achieved whilst putting significantly less investor capital at risk than many of our peers. Since its inception, CVF has held on average, approximately 53% of its investable assets in cash. Adjusted for this average cash holding, the outperformance is greater, with an annualised performance of 18.2%. CVF was also able to deliver an average grossed up dividend yield of 5.7% per annum over the period that CVF was listed.

As an operating funds management business unit, the CVF Manager did not achieve scale but was able to deliver positive returns. The funds management business unit delivered a multiple on invested capital (MOIC) of 21.9x and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 148.9% over the period from IPO till the termination and retirement of Arowana as the Manager.

Arowana CVF Net Investment Performance as at 31 December 2020

Lifetime as LIC (6 years)Lifetime as LIC (6 years)Lifetime since inception (11.5 years)Lifetime since inception (11.5 years)
Net performance *8.6%63.9%12.8%298.0%
ASX200 Accum. Index7.7%55.8%9.3%177.2%
Net outperformance0.9%8.1%3.5%120.8%

* Net return after all costs and fees (including estimated performance fee accrued) and before tax.

Past performance is not a predictor of future performance. No guarantee is made by any party as to future investment performance, distributions, or share price of the Arowana Australasian Value Opportunities Fund Limited. Please consult your adviser prior to considering an investment.

Arowana CVF Gross Investment Performance as at 31 December 2020

Lifetime as LIC (6 years)Lifetime as LIC (6 years)
Gross performance12.2%99.7%
ASX200 Accum. Index7.7%55.8%
Gross outperformance4.5%43.9%