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Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Brandes Without Brandes

News summary by MFWire's editors

44 years after founding Brandes Investment Partners, L.P. [profile] and 16 years after passing the CEO reins, Charles Brandes is retiring at the age of 74. Additionally, he will no longer be one of the owners of the San Diego-based asset manager.

Brandes, who most recently served as Brandes Investment Partners, L.P.'s general partner (through his ownership of the similarly named Brandes Investment Partners, Inc.) and chairman, left the firm on February 26, company spokeswoman Stephanie Dressler confirms. This follows the news that earlier last month Brandes took a leave of absence while going through a divorce battle, wherein he and his estranged wife, Tanya Johnson, both accused each other of domestic violence. The lawyers in the divorce battle, Bloomberg reports, "mutually resolved all domestic violence claims" the week before Brandes' departure from his eponymous firm.

With Brandes' retirement, the general partner role automatically shifted to executive directors Jeff Busby and Glenn Carlson (through an entity Busby and Carlson own 50/50), Dressler confirms. The company has 23 limited partners, all current employees.

"Under the terms of our Partnership Agreement, once a partner leaves the partnership, they are no longer an owner," Dressler tells MFWire. "Therefore, Charles is no longer an owner and has no formal association with the firm."

In leadership terms, there will be no new chairman of the company as the limited partners are retiring that title, Dressler confirms. Brent Woods will continue to serve as CEO, as he has since 2013 when he took the reins from Carlson.

"I cannot, and will not allow my personal situation to impact the firm in any way," Brandes himself states, according to Bloomberg. "I take this step with a heavy heart, but I am satisfied and convinced my decision is in the best interest of the firm. As the founder of the firm that bears my name, my primary responsibility is to our clients, my partners and our employees and their families."

"Mr. Brandes believes his decision is in the best interests of Brandes Investment Partners and its clients, and will spare the firm from undue distraction while he addresses this personal matter," Dressler tells MFWire in an emailed statement from the firm:
We are proud of the firm that Charles founded and his dedication to the principles of value investing and his ongoing commitment to prioritizing the interests of clients, as exemplified by his decision. We thank Charles for everything he has done to build this firm, and we will do everything we can to protect and honor the institution he established.

Brandes spent six years as a stock broker before founding his eponymous firm in 1974 after being inspired by a meeting with Benjamin Graham, known as the father of value investing. Brandes, now a billionaire, passed the CEO reins to Carlson in 2002. The firm had $31.2 billion in AUM as of December 31, 2017. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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