Chris_CuffeChris Cuffe’s Third Link Growth Fund outperformed its benchmark by 23.7 percentage points in the year to November, lifted its funds under management by 75 per cent and was able to pay over to charities about $40,000 a month via his association with the Social Ventures Australia (SVA) group.

Cuffe, the former high-profile head of Colonial First State who resigned in 2003 to pursue various charitable and non-executive roles, including trustee of UniSuper, said the Third Link Growth Fund had become an extremely reliable ongoing source of funding for SVA.

“I believe every investor is in front (assuming distributions have been reinvested) albeit by a small amount for many … but this isn’t bad given the tough investment environment during much of this time,” he said yesterday in a note to clients.

Cuffe set up the balanced fund in June 2008, and convinced a range of managers to donate their management fees to SVA. He also imposed a low cap on assets of $150 million for fund. This year the fund has grown from $20 million to $35 million – spinning off about $40,000 a month in fees for the charitable group.

The fund produced a return of 33.9 per cent in the year to November, compared with its benchmark (Morningstar Multi-Sector Growth Market Index) return of 10.2 per cent. Since inception, the fund has returned 2.8 per cent against the benchmark of minus 5.7 per cent.

SVA offers consulting services to non-profit organisations and provides funding and strategic support. It funded 10 “partners” this year, including four new ventures. It has built its consulting team to 12 people who undertook 40 individual projects. Most recently, it has partnered with Mission Australia, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Benevolent Society to secure preferred bidder status for the old ABC Learning child-care facilities, which it hopes to turn into child growth and development centres rather than just child-minding centres.

Managers which have donated their fees through the Third Link venture are:

Cooper Investors

Goldman Sachs JBWere

Orion Asset Management

Paradice Investment Management

Platypus Asset Management

Eley Griffiths Group

Pengana Capital

Arkx Investment Management

Intrinsic Value Investments

Magellan Financial Group

Taube Hodson Stonex Partners

Aberdeen Asset Management

RARE Infrastructure

Schroders

Perennial Investment Partners

Select Asset Management

Technical Investing

Colonial First State Global Asset Management