EdgePoint Mutual Funds, which offers a short line up of just four equity funds, is a new mutual fund short backed by Trimark founder Bob Krembil and star managers Tye Bousada, Patrick Farmer and Geoff MacDonald. While EdgePoint will be an interesting fund company to watch, not least because of the pedigree of its founders and the promise to focus on investment returns rather than shareholder returns, it is not the focus of this post.
The founders of EdgePoint found an interesting way to launch their mutual fund company. They floated a closed-end fund on the TSX exchange last fall called Cymbria Corporation (TSX: CYB) that attracted $222 million in capital. Cymbria provides the founders with a permanent pool of capital to invest as closed-end funds, unlike mutual funds, cannot be redeemed. On its own, Cymbria might be attractive to fans of active management due to its low fees (the management fee is waived for the first three years but there is a service fee paid to registered dealers of 1% and operating expenses of the fund), co-ownership (the founders have invested $22 million of their own money), concentration etc. However, to sweeten the offer to Cymbria shareholders, the founders offered a ownership stake in EdgePoint that in the final analysis was set at 23%. In other words, Cymbria is a closed-end fund run by superb managers with a 23% stake in EdgePoint mutual funds thrown in.
A couple of points should be noted regarding the risks in addition to the usual warnings about active management: Cymbria (CYB) is thinly traded and relatively illiquid and closed-end funds sometimes trade at significant discounts to net asset value (NAV) and there is no guarantee that CYB won’t do so. As of May 22, 2009, Cymbria had a NAV of $10.50 and was trading at a slight premium at $10.85. You can find the prospectus here.