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How you can invest alongside this Aussie billionaire family

Often people assume there’s a secret to becoming wealthy. If they can only find one magical investment, their working days are done. Or the good opportunities are only available to the rich. Nonsense!

Solid opportunities are often hidden in plain sight. Like Warren Buffett buying large chunks of Apple shares over the last couple of years, after he recognised its brand-power with consumers and the stock trading relatively cheaply.

Back on the ASX, there’s one billionaire family who has much of their net worth invested in a publicly traded company that you and I can also buy shares in. That family is the Millners, and the company is investment conglomerate Washington H. Soul Pattinson & Co. Ltd (ASX: SOL).

Soul Patts

The history of this family-run business goes back over 100 years. It started from a small chain of pharmacies, and now, many generations later, it’s a diversified investment company with a market cap of over $6 billion (at the time of writing).

Chairman, Robert Millner, owns around 19.4 million shares, worth over $515 million. His son, Tom Millner, who is a Non-Executive Director, also owns over 18.7 million shares, worth around $500 million. The father-son duo also has substantial interests in other listed companies.

Soul Patts has an excellent performance history, having returned 16.7% per annum for the last 40 years. Safe to say it’s very well managed and long-term shareholders would be delighted for staying the course.

Investments

Most of the company’s capital is invested in large stakes of other publicly listed businesses. These include TPG Telecom Ltd  (ASX: TPM), New Hope Corporation Limited (ASX: NHC) and Brickworks Limited (ASX: BKW), amongst others.

This means a retail shareholder could simply mimic some of Soul Patts moves as it makes them. Or better yet, just buy shares in Soul Patts and hop on for the ride.

You could follow the holdings or second-guess the weightings, but in my view, the best course of action is to simply let management worry about that. They’ve proven themselves more than capable.

The key objective of Soul Patts is to invest in a diversified portfolio of assets to deliver a growing income stream to shareholders. And they’ve done just that. Dividends have increased every single year since 2000, by an average of 10% per annum.

Foolish takeaway

I think this is a perfect example of how the average person can invest alongside a billionaire family and earn the same returns as they do. There’s obviously no guarantees for the future. But with strong shareholder alignment and one of the finest track records you could ask for, I think Soul Patts is a solid bet for the next few decades.

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Motley Fool contributor Dave Gow owns shares of Brickworks and Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Brickworks and TPG Telecom Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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