Manager, Investment Trusts
Foreign and Colonial
STOCK MARKETS are dynamic things, so every day is different and throws up a variety of challenges. The stockmarkets have exploded in size and changes happen more quickly. Customers are also far more aware of what markets are doing and hence are more demanding.
It has become absolutely essential to treat investors properly in terms of integrity and professionalism. And one has to be more responsive to customer needs; we have to decide what investors want and ascertain whether we are providing that service. In investment terms it's important to retain common sense - I think we've been going so long because we have that common sense. Markets can get excited and at that moment it is important to be able to stand back and not get carried away with euphoria.
Obviously, sometimes the market goes the other way and people think it is the end of the world. At present, any company with .com in its name tends to be worth a billion pounds. There is too much euphoria in the market. So it is important to keep a clear head and retain common sense to survive in the long-term. I think it's insidious to single out individuals but in terms of companies, Henderson is doing very well with several big, impressive investment trusts.
Head of Gartmore Scotland
THE MARKET is more global, information moves more quickly and the market moves more quickly to disseminate information into prices than before. To succeed, you need to look for what is going to change and you need to trust your judgement on what you see. Investment isn't always that difficult. It is difficult to hold on to a vision as people will always have good and bad years. So the trick is to look for something that will mark you out as different and not to take the easy way out. No one in particular stands out. Aberdeen has built itself up in the recent products it has been bringing to the market. I appreciate what it is doing to make the market grow.
Fleming Investment Trust
INVESTMENT TRUSTS are interesting because they encompass so many areas. I particularly enjoy the client involvement aspect - I get involved with boards and shareholders. It has been interesting to watch the trend towards an awareness of how important the shareholder is in the entire process. Obviously, the shareholder is a vital aspect of the business - if you can't keep shareholders and can't keep them satisfied, you don't deserve to run a successful business. So to run a successful concern you need a strong team of specialists, as it is a business that runs on many different levels (client liaison, distribution, fund management) and you must be well-rounded There is no one single element that leads to a successful investment trust business.
There are aspects of all our competitors I admire but I would say that few individuals, if any, stand out. Although we do admire the performance of Henderson Investors.
Jupiter Asset Management
TO SUCCEED in this sector you need to understand figures and enjoy sealing a deal. It is also useful if you have an interest in trends and watching things change over time. A good fund manager will help the company enormously - assets always perform better with a good manager. We have a number of good managers - William Littlewood is one of our well-known managers, as is Adrian Patterson. For the past couple of years the industry has been more about split capital trusts and Aberdeen, BFS and Exeter have built up in that area.
Senior Partner and Chief
Baillie & Gifford
IN THIS business, there is something new happening all the time. Just about everything that does happen may well make money for your client so it is constantly interesting work. I enjoy the speculation involved - it is great when you come up with a theme or industry which is out of fashion and then becomes fashionable. It is equally frustrating when the idea doesn't work and you have to face the fact you were wrong. That can happen quite often. To succeed as an individual in this business, you need an inquiring mind. It is also very difficult to be successful without being competitive. In terms of your firm, you have to put your clients first. But effectively there is no set of qualities that will determine success - not everything works all the time. I have always had a great deal of respect for Schroder which is a well-balanced and strong company. There was no one at Mercury whom I didn't think was tremendously clever but individuals do tend to come and go.
THE IMPORTANCE of unit trusts has grown enormously, largely blunting the erstwhile domination of the life assurance companies. Now there is a far more equitable overlay of investment companies all with an equal voice. I think it is important that a small company can grow and create an important platform to work from - which is where we are today. I also think it is important we give our investment managers a relative freedom to invest - much more than City-bound competitors can do. Fidelity is impressive because it has weathered many storms and Schroder too has had its ups and downs but as a name it is very significant. I admire Aberdeen because under the aegis of Martin Gilbert it, like us, has grown successfully from a small base.
I ENJOY the constant challenges thrown up in financial services. Consolidation has had a powerful effect on the industry, forcing us all to adapt and cope with change. Consolidation has meant our company has changed massively but great cycles will go on turning and perhaps in the future we will find ourselves decentralised again. To succeed you need energy, adaptability and common sense. My favourite big companies need to be able to behave like adaptable small companies. Barriers to entry are collapsing - just look at the Internet - making it easier for anyone to do business. In our sector I wouldn't say there are many small companies doing particularly well, because size does matter. But in some large companies you find the sort of guerrilla unit I'm talking about. Henderson has a small global technology team that has established a good long-term track record.Reuse content