HENNESSY ADVISORS INC (HNNA) - Description of business

Company Description
We are a publicly traded investment management firm. Our principal business activity is managing, servicing and marketing our six open-end mutual funds. All of our mutual funds are no-load, meaning investors do not pay any upfront or deferred sales charges. We use quantitative stock selection strategies to manage each of the Hennessy Funds. The net assets of the mutual funds we manage have increased by 787% from $194 million on September 30, 2001 to $1.72 billion as of September 30, 2007. Each of the Hennessy Funds pays fees to us for our management services. Management services include investment research, supervision of investments, conducting investment programs (including evaluation, sale and reinvestment of assets), the placement of orders for purchase and sale of securities, solicitation of brokers to execute transactions and the preparation and distribution of reports and statistical information. All six of our mutual funds also pay fees to us for shareholder services. Shareholder services consist primarily of providing a call center to respond to shareholder inquiries, including inquiries regarding specific mutual fund account and investment information. The fees that we receive for management and shareholder services are based on a percentage of the average daily net asset values of our mutual funds. Company History We were founded in 1989 as a California corporation under the name Edward J. Hennessy Incorporated. We initially registered with the appropriate federal, state and self-regulatory organizations as a broker-dealer with a retail business. In addition, we were a member of the National Association of Securities Dealers, serving mainly individual investors, but we terminated this registration in July 2000 and are no longer engaged in the broker-dealer business. In 1990, we registered as an investment advisor. From 1990 to 1996, we provided management services to private clients and limited partnerships utilizing strategies similar to those we use in advising our mutual funds today. In 1996, we launched our first mutual fund, the Hennessy Balanced Fund. We initially managed the Hennessy Balanced Fund through The Hennessy Management Co., L.P., a California limited partnership for which we served as the general partner. As general partner, we performed all of the management functions on behalf of The Hennessy Management Co., L.P. for the Hennessy Balanced Fund. In 1998, we launched our second mutual fund, the Hennessy Total Return Fund. We initially managed the Hennessy Total Return Fund through The Hennessy Management Co. 2, L.P., another California limited partnership for which we served as the general partner and as such, performed all of the management functions on behalf of The Hennessy Management Co. 2, L.P. for the Hennessy Total Return Fund. In 2000, we began acquiring the rights to manage the assets of additional mutual funds by entering into agreements with the funds' investment advisors to acquire management contracts related to such funds. When we acquire the rights to manage the assets of a mutual fund, we generally either enter into a management agreement covering the mutual fund or reorganize the assets of the mutual fund into one of our existing mutual funds. An attractive acquisition target for us is a retail-oriented, no-load mutual fund with less than $500 million in net assets. In June 2000, we completed our first acquisition by entering into a management agreement covering the O'Shaughnessy Cornerstone Growth Fund and O'Shaughnessy Cornerstone Value Fund and changed the names of these funds to the Hennessy Cornerstone Growth Fund and the Hennessy Cornerstone Value Fund. In connection with this acquisition, we obtained an exclusive, perpetual license to use the names and investment strategies of the Cornerstone Growth Fund and Cornerstone Value Fund from Netfolio, Inc. These two mutual funds had approximately $197 million in combined net assets at the time we began managing them. In May 2002, we completed our initial public offering, raising $5.7 million in a non-underwritten offering at a split-adjusted price of $2.97 and became a 1934 Act reporting company as a small-business issuer. At the time of our initial public offering, assets under management were approximately $348 million. In connection with our initial public offering, the limited partners of The Hennessy Management Co., L.P. and The Hennessy Management Co. 2, L.P. agreed to merge their partnerships into our new public company, thereby allowing the consolidation of all our management activities directly into Hennessy Advisors, Inc. In September 2003, we acquired the management agreement for the SYM Select Growth Fund. In connection with that acquisition, we launched our fifth mutual fund, the Hennessy Focus 30 Fund, into which we reorganized the assets of the SYM Select Growth Fund. At the time of this acquisition, the SYM Fund had approximately $35 million in net assets. In March 2004, we acquired the management agreements for five funds managed by Lindner Asset Management, Inc., which we refer to as the Lindner Funds. In connection with this acquisition, the assets of the Lindner Funds were reorganized into four of our existing mutual funds. At the time of this acquisition, the Lindner Funds had approximately $301 million in combined net assets. In July 2005, we acquired the management agreement for The Henlopen Fund and changed the name to the Hennessy Cornerstone Growth Fund, Series II. At the time of this acquisition, The Henlopen Fund had approximately $299 million in net assets. BUSINESS OPERATIONS, PRODUCTS and STRATEGIESManagement Agreements and Fees We have entered into management agreements covering all of our mutual funds with the registered investment companies or trusts under which our mutual funds are organized. Our registered investment companies or trusts are currently Hennessy Funds, Inc., Hennessy Mutual Funds, Inc. and Hennessy Funds Trust. Our management agreement with Hennessy Funds, Inc. covers the Hennessy Total Return Fund and Hennessy Balanced Fund; with Hennessy Mutual Funds, Inc. covers the Hennessy Cornerstone Growth Fund, the Hennessy Cornerstone Value Fund and the Hennessy Focus 30 Fund; and with Hennessy Funds Trust covers the Hennessy Cornerstone Growth Fund, Series II. Under these agreements, we are responsible for overall investment and management services, subject to the oversight of the applicable board of directors or trustees and according to each mutual fund's particular fundamental investment objectives and policies. The boards of each of Hennessy Funds, Inc., Hennessy Mutual Funds, Inc. and Hennessy Funds Trust consist of four individuals, including our chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer, Neil J. Hennessy, and three independent directors or trustees. Under the Investment Company Act of 1940, a majority of the independent directors or trustees must approve the entry into and continuation of our management agreements. The independent directors also have sole responsibility for selecting and nominating other independent directors or trustees. We also provide any ordinary clerical and bookkeeping services needed by our mutual funds that are not provided by the funds' custodian, administrator or transfer agent. We fulfill requests for information about our mutual funds or pay the fulfillment expenses that our mutual funds would otherwise incur. In exchange for all of these services, we receive a management fee from each of our mutual funds, which is based on the amount of each fund's average daily net assets.

In the past, we have had contractual obligations for the partial waiver or limiting of our management fees for our funds, but such obligations are now expired. We may still choose to voluntarily waive part of our management fees in order to maintain competitive expense ratios for the funds.

Our management agreements must be renewed annually by a majority of the directors and trustees of the investment companies, and the majority must include a majority of all disinterested directors or trustees. Two other circumstances might lead to termination of the management agreements: the assignment of a management agreement to another advisor automatically terminates the agreement (assignment includes "indirect assignment," which is the transfer of our common stock in sufficient quantities deemed to constitute a controlling block), and the termination of the agreement, via written notice, by our firm or by one of the funds' investment companies which causes termination after 60 days of the notice. The current management agreements were renewed by the Board of Directors of the Hennessy Funds, Inc. and Hennessy Mutual Funds, Inc. and by the trustees of the Hennessy Funds Trust on March 6, 2007 for a period of one year.

Shareholder Services

In addition to our management agreements, we also have shareholder servicing agreements covering the Hennessy Cornerstone Growth Fund, Hennessy Cornerstone Growth Fund, Series II, Hennessy Focus 30 Fund, Hennessy Cornerstone Value Fund, Hennessy Total Return Fund and Hennessy Balanced Fund. We have provided shareholder services under a shareholder servicing agreement to the Hennessy Cornerstone Growth Fund and Hennessy Cornerstone Value Fund since October 2003, to the Hennessy Focus 30 Fund since June 30, 2005, to the Hennessy Cornerstone Growth Fund, Series II since July 1, 2005, and to the Hennessy Total Return Fund and Hennessy Balanced Fund since July 1, 2007. Under these agreements, we provide administrative support services to these funds, including, among other things, the following: • maintaining an "800" number that current fund shareholders may call to ask questions about the funds or their accounts with the funds; • assisting shareholders in processing exchange and redemption requests; • assisting shareholders in changing dividend options, account designations and addresses; • responding generally to shareholder questions; and • providing other similar services that the funds may request. In exchange for these services, we receive an annual shareholder servicing fee from each of the above-named funds of 0.10% of the fund's average daily net assets. The Hennessy Total Return Fund and Hennessy Balanced Fund have each adopted a 12b-1 plan. Under Rule 12b-1 of the Investment Company Act of 1940, mutual funds can adopt a plan that allows them to make payments to third parties in connection with the distribution of their fund shares. Such distribution activities might include: advertising; compensation paid to financial institutions, broker-dealers, and others for sales and marketing; shareholder accounting services; the printing and mailing of prospectuses to other than existing shareholders; and the printing and mailing of sales literature. Mutual funds can also employ a distributor to distribute and market mutual fund shares. 12b-1 fees can be used to pay the distributor for expenses incurred for telephone costs, overhead costs, costs of employees who engage in or support the distribution of the fund shares, the printing of prospectuses and other reports for other than existing shareholders, advertising and the preparation and distribution of sales literature. The 12b-1 plan adopted by the Hennessy Total Return Fund and the Hennessy Balanced Fund authorizes each fund to make payments at an annual rate not to exceed 0.25% of each Fund's average daily net assets. At its meeting on June 5, 2007, the Board of Directors approved a 0.10% reduction of the 12b-1 fee accrual. Effective July 1, 2007, the Total Return and Balanced Funds Plan will accrue 12b-1 fees at a rate of 0.15% of the average net assets of each fund for the activities described above. The SEC has considered changes to Rule 12b-1 of the Investment Company Act of 1940 and although no specific proposals are currently pending, changes to Rule 12b-1 could restrict our current practices.