Charity begins at work for Future Generation Investment director Belinda Hutchinson

Belinda Hutchinson. Supplied
Belinda Hutchinson. Supplied

It isn't often you get an ASX board member openly boasting about their decision to exercise options and pick up a big wack of stock in their company, but let's indulge former QBE chairwoman Belinda Hutchinson on her decision to take the plunge on Geoff Wilson's charity venture, Future Generation Global Investment Company.

Alongside the usual stodgy Change of Directors Interest Notice lodged with the ASX, Hutch released a more vibrant announcement that enthused about her decision to exercise 301,000 FGG options to buy stock, which now takes her stake to 1.2 million shares.

"I passionately believe in FGG's unique model, which delivers both investment and social returns," she said in her statement to the ASX.

She has some way to go before catching Wilson, who is also no slouch when it comes to backing the cause. He has lifted his stake from 3 million to 5 million shares since the 2015 IPO.

Wilson got the idea of setting up the fund manager to provide a return for investors while giving a percentage of its net tangible assets to charities focused on youth mental health.

The trick is to get well-regarded fund managers to invest the money for free, and the board - including Wilson - work pro bono.

"As announced with our half-year results, FGG received $3.8 million in annualised savings delivered from forgone management and performance fees and pro bono services - significantly exceeding the annual donation to charities," said Hutchinson.

FGG will make a $3 million donation to its supported charities next month, including the Butterfly Foundation, which has launched an early intervention program for young people with eating disorders.

Hutchinson and her fellow directors have until this Friday to exercise any remaining bonus options at $1.10 a piece, which was the IPO price, and is the current share price.

Flame out

It's not just Malcolm Turnbull's Maoist bullies who have been at loggerheads with our energy providers.

Melbourne chef Shane Delia - who joined the celebrity chef circuit with SBS show Shane Delia's Spice Journey - announced plans last year to expand his Biggie Smalls kebab diner empire to Chapel Street, Windsor.

With the big opening day nearly upon us, it was time for Frank Calabria's ASX-listed Origin Energy to switch on the gas, lights etc.

There was just one small problem. Delia had been provided with the wrong form when he signed up for power some months ago - something that become apparent only last week despite months of follow up with Origin.

"It's a joke," Delia told CBD. Promotional events are due to start next week. "We've done everything right."

CBD will not go into the background shenanigans that were triggered by your columnist's phone call to Origin - other than to say the call ricocheted down the hallway of a well-known sporting institution for reasons which will not be revealed at this stage.

But the good news is that Origin finally got back to CBD to say it was taking responsibility for the screw up.

"We hadn't noticed there were errors in the paperwork submitted to supply gas to this property," said a statement from a company spokesman.

"This led to a delay and we could have done a better job keeping the customer updated. We've arranged for the gas network operator to visit the premises this afternoon and will work with the customer to supply the property as soon as possible," said Origin.

If only a bit of publicity worked this well for Turnbull and his coal buddies.

???Stock take

Hutchison was not the only director embracing the joy of share ownership this week.

On Wednesday Southern Cross announced that its highly regarded CEO, Grant Blackley, had finally acquired some stock more than two years after he joined the group.

The acquisition of 71,700 shares was described as an "on-market trade (to fulfil short-term incentive award)".

Southern Cross has long delighted CBD with the share buying habits of its board.

This time last year it was chairman Peter (Maccas) Bush, who finally acquired some shares.

Last month it was Rob Murray ramping up his shareholding in Southern Cross and Metcash. This followed a broadside from the Australian Shareholders Association, which recommended a vote against his re-election as Metcash chairman last month due to his paltry equity interest in the grocery wholesaler.

Bush's fellow McDonald's alumni, Helen Nash, was also topping up her shareholding at Southern Cross this week.

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This story Charity begins at work for Future Generation Investment director Belinda Hutchinson first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.