NEW YORK, March 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Board of Directors (the "Board") of The Taiwan Fund, Inc. (the "Fund") (TWN), today announced that it has selected Allianz Global Investors U.S. LLC ("AllianzGI US") to become its Investment Adviser, subject to stockholder approval. AllianzGI US is part of the Allianz Global Investors group of entities, which are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Allianz SE, one of the world's largest financial services providers and a publicly-traded company. As of December 31, 2018, the total assets under management of Allianz Global Investors group of entities amounted to US$577.4 billion (€ 505.1 billion), including US$5.516 billion (€4.8 billion) invested in Taiwan mandates. Based on a search for and review of qualified investment managers conducted with the assistance of a consultant, the Board concluded that AllianzGI US possesses the capabilities and skill to provide the Fund the best opportunity to achieve superior investment performance.
Allianz Global Investors believes that, as investor sentiment fluctuates greatly from the underlying fundamentals, proprietary fundamental research can exploit this inefficiency by identifying companies with the potential for robust earnings growth not fully discounted into the current share price. Its bottom-up, fundamental-driven investment process is a reflection of this philosophy. It believes that disciplined processes and multiple sources for idea generation can significantly enhance conviction. This approach allows it to concentrate on its key conviction ideas which it believes should provide superior and consistent outperformance for its clients.
Unlike most global asset managers, Allianz Global Investors has a dedicated 11 person investment team based in Taiwan specializing in the local equity market. This investment team has been continuously managing equity mandates on behalf of Taiwan government entities since 2012. The Allianz Taiwan Fund, a local mutual fund which has an investment strategy similar to the one proposed for the Fund, has ranked at the top of its local Lipper peer group over one-, three-, five- and ten-year periods (as at September 30, 2018).
The proposed Investment Advisory Agreement between the Fund and AllianzGI US (the "Proposed Agreement") is subject to approval by the Fund's stockholders at the Fund's Annual Meeting of Stockholders scheduled for April 24, 2019. The Proposed Agreement provides for a base fee of 0.70% of the Fund's average daily net assets. Commencing September 1, 2019, the base fee will be subject to a performance adjustment that will add or subtract from the base fee 0.05% for each percentage point by which the total return of the Fund exceeds, or is exceeded by, the return of the TAIEX Total Return Index during each fiscal year of the Fund (September 1 to August 31), with a maximum adjustment of +/- 0.25%. The Fund believes that the addition of this performance adjustment better aligns the interest of the proposed Investment Adviser with the Fund's shareholders as it rewards the Investment Adviser for the Fund's relative outperformance against the Taiwan market while as importantly reducing the Investment Adviser's fees during any periods of relative underperformance, which will have the effect of decreasing the Fund's overall expense ratio during these periods.
The Fund also announced today that it has been successful in negotiating fee reductions with certain of its service providers. In addition, the Fund further reviewed its fees and expenses and the Board has agreed to take steps to reduce its fees and restructure its meeting arrangements so that its total expenses for fees and meetings, including meeting-related expenses, will be reduced by approximately 20%. These steps will be implemented immediately.
The intent of these actions is to achieve and maintain a total expense ratio of 1.50% while seeking other opportunities to reduce its total expense ratio further. In this connection, the Fund further announced today that it intends to conduct a thorough review of all of its service provider arrangements, including its custodian, administrator, transfer agent, CCO and CFO provider and legal counsel. This review will begin as soon as the transition to the Fund's new Investment Adviser is completed. In addition to reducing expenses, the success in achieving a lower expense ratio will depend on the Fund growing at a time in which shares are being repurchased.
The Fund also announced today an enhancement to the Fund's Discount Management Program intended to provide increased value to stockholders, by providing the Board greater flexibility to meet the objectives of the program in response to market conditions and other factors. The Fund will continue to repurchase, in each twelve month period ending August 31, up to 10% of its common shares outstanding as of the close of business on August 31 the prior year. The Fund will repurchase its common shares in the open market on any day that the Fund's shares are trading at a discount that exceeds 9.5% (the "discount threshold"). Any changes in the discount threshold will be announced as made.
The Fund is a diversified closed-end investment company, which seeks long term capital appreciation primarily through investments in equity securities listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. Shares of the Fund are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "TWN."
For additional information on the Fund, including information on the Fund's holdings, visit the Fund's website at www.thetaiwanfund.com or call 1-877-217-9502.
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