Vote “Yes” to management change

There’s a big shareholder vote coming for unitholders of the Working Ventures labour funds, and you should cast your ballot.

Often people toss proxies into the wastebasket, but that would be a mistake in this case.

The vote is to approve a new management team that will assume responsibility for the Working Ventures Canadian Fund and the Working Ventures II Technology Fund. Assuming shareholder approval at a Nov. 25 meeting, Vancouver-based GrowthWorks Capital will take over responsibility for both funds.

The move could improve returns for long-suffering investors. Working Ventures Canadian was the first labour-sponsored fund to be sold across Canada and at one time was the largest entry in the field after Quebec’s massive Solidarity Fund. But performance has been chronically disappointing. Over the decade to Sept. 30, investors incurred an average annual loss of 2.8%.

During the same period, the Working Opportunity Balanced Fund, which is available only in British Columbia, generated an average annual gain of 6.3%. That fund also has the best five-year record in the category (+7.8% annually) and has been an above-averagperformer over all time periods. It’s run by GrowthWorks.

So Working Ventures would be acquiring a management team with a proven record for success in a tough field. GrowthWorks won’t be able to turn things around overnight, since venture capital positions are usually three-year holds at minimum. But their presence should bring new hope to Working Ventures investors.

Adapted from an article that originally appeared in Mutual Funds Update, a monthly newsletter that provides guidance on fund selection and portfolio building for investors. For subscription information, go to: