Welcome to AIMS Financial Group

Big names clash in fascinating tussle for midget

Edited by Andrew White
Source: Australia Financial Review

The battle for control of the tiny MacarthurCook Industrial Property Fund is heating up, with the intriguing possibility that some big names will end week wearing some egg.

Sydney-based boutique Real Estate Capital Partner is angling for the management of the listed fund, with chief executive Andrew Saunders leading a team that includes former investment banker and New City head Tony Dixon and former Investec Bank executive Tamara Williams.

Their organization is backed by Mulpha Australia, which is chaired by Lee Seng Huang, a son of 1980s corporate raider Lee Ming Tee, who knew a thing or two about corporate scraps.

They are trying to dislodge MacarthurCook as manager of the fund. MacarthurCook is 92 per cent owned by AIMS Financial Group, which founder George Wang is trying to develop from a mortgage house to a China-focused property, broking, mining and biotech investor.

Wang has had a few goes at getting his wide-ranging financial plays off the ground, but now has a heavyweight team on the case.

They include Greg Bundy, who once was vice-chairman of Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific, former BNP head of equities James Tong and star former Pengana Capital funds manager Mark Thorpe-Apps.

AIMS had only just snatched control of MacarthurCook before the challenger showed up.

It is feeling the heat as it battles to keep the minnow fund from breaking away.

MacarthurCook founder Craig Dunstan is now out of business but is thought to favour a change of management. More will be known after a showdown at a meeting on Thursday.

It is the sort of spat that has until now been largely confined to the listed investment company end of market, where investors have being trying to pick up cash and equities at a discount.

Both Wang and the Lee family have extensive holding in Asia and could be wondering if a bruising fight to run a trust with a $130 million portfolio is worth the fuss.