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Markel CATCo CEO Belisle, Director acquire more London fund shares


The CEO of Markel CATCo Investment Management Ltd. and the Non-executive Chairman of the Board of the firms London-listed retrocessional reinsurance investment strategy, have again acquired shares in the fund.

Tony Belisle, CEO of Markel CATCo Investment Management Ltd., has been acquiring shares in the strategy for a number of months now.

Belisle first acquired 1 million Ordinary shares in the listed retrocessional reinsurance fund, the CATCo Reinsurance Opportunities Fund, in May 2018 and then followed that up with 500,000 shares in the C Class in June.

That was followed by a further 1,000,000 Ordinary shares in the fund, taking the total purchased at the time to 2 million in the Ordinary share class, then Belisle added another 500,000 Depository Interests in the C Share class, taking the holdings purchased in that share class in recent months to 1 million.

Now, just this week on September 24th, Belisle has acquired another 1 million Depositary Interests in the C Share class of the retro reinsurance fund at an average price of $0.9875 per share. The C shares are the freshly issued class from 2018, that are not exposed to legacy catastrophe losses or the hurricanes of 2017.

Also buying into the fund this week was Non-executive Chairman of the Board James Keyes, who acquired a further 100,000 Depositary Interests in the C Shares class.

Depository Interests enable investors to hold their shares in electronic form, or acquire them through a secondary market, giving beneficial ownership of the underlying common shares and can typically be converted into common shares at any time.

The share acquisitions follow the company itself buying back shares last week as well, as retrocessional reinsurance specialist investment manager Markel CATCo bought back 1 million shares in the C share class.

The share buy-back by the company was likely due to the C class of shares in the CATCo Reinsurance Opportunities Fund trading at a discount to net asset value, hence the manager buying back shares to demonstrate its confidence in the strategy.

For the executive share purchases by the CEO and Directors, it is likely a case of exercising options to buy shares that they have earned in the course of their duties, at the same time demonstrating the confidence CEO Belisle and others have in the Markel CATCo retrocessional reinsurance investment strategy.

With the C Shares, that aren’t exposed directly to last year’s major losses, trading at a discount to NAV and so far this year any catastrophe losses being largely attritional, there is a good chance the valuation rises if the hurricane season does not throw up any major loss curve balls over the coming weeks.

Hence, all these share purchases help to demonstrate Belisle and his team’s alignment with the end-investors in the fund, at a time when the shares may well face some level of recovery if 2018 remains relatively loss free for the strategy.

Belisle’s buying into the fund is generally seen as an effort to align his interests with those of his investors at a time when the management’s confidence in the strategy and portfolio underwritten for 2018 remains strong.

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