At Integrity Investment Management’s offices near a leather couch that visitors sit on before seeing Paul Fiani and his team, various awards are displayed. On one wall a certificate proclaims the firm was a finalist for Morningstar’s 2007 fund manager of the year. Trophies on a table show Integrity was Lonsec’s 2009 and 2010 fund manager of the year in Australian equities ‘’broad cap’’.
The firm’s No. 2 fund manager, Shawn Burns, has been fired for having allegedly violating personal trading rules, helping a competitor, breaking the firm’s internal intellectual property rules and having pornography.
Burns’s former colleagues are privately furious that after working hard to establish their firm this situation has arisen. But they are relieved none of their investors, institutional or individual, have pulled money out of the firm.
For Paul Fiani, the last three weeks must have been especially difficult.
Fiani, 42, who has a reputation as a demanding, exacting boss, according to former colleagues, is acutely aware the company, almost more than any other, must live up to its name.
He has hired Clayton Utz to defend the firm and its directors. Fiani is pressing ahead with hiring a replacement for Burns.
Burns was in charge of developing a small cap Australian equities product for Integrity. Fiani, who worked with Burns at UBS for 18 months and for four years at Integrity, has sought to distance himself from his former colleague.
Despite Fiani being seven years younger than the 49 year old Burns, people who worked with the two men said Fiani was the assertive, decisive and voluble figure. The older man was almost so quiet that one former colleague of his remembers he had never heard him speak a word at the UBS office.
The allegations against Burns have dumbfounded many of his former colleagues who couldn’t imagine their former unassuming colleague capable of such things.