Married with 3 children (13,12 and 12)
Charterhouse & Durham University
STARTED AT JM FINN & CO
Investment Director & Vice Chair of the Management Committee
Fishing, Tennis, Music
Driving an RV with my family across Montana and Nevada in the US – we are still talking!
With so much market uncertainty around Brexit and further European elections next
year, how are you positioning portfolios ?
Brexit has set the tone and next year’s elections, when 75% of Eurozone voters go to the polls, could have repercussions if the populist vote results in more fiscal activism. In the short term I do not think this damages investment prospects and the return of some inflation could benefit equities. It is too early to see how Brexit will play out but there is some complacency in the market on the potential cost and complexity and so I think some caution is warranted.
Most of the portfolios managed by my team are focused on globally diversified businesses but we are on the look-out for opportunities in the UK.
Can you briefly describe your core investment philosophy and the key disciplines that you try and stay true to?
I like the philosophy of investing in good businesses without being put off by their share price valuations. As Terry Smith, the founder of Fundsmith says – if you are a long term investor, owning shares in a good company is likely to be a much larger determinant of your investment performance than whether the shares were cheap when you bought them.
I also believe that asset prices generally ‘revert to mean’ and this helps to provide checks to any over-enthusiasm for particular sectors or markets.
What are your long-term fears for the stock markets?
We have had a few false dawns but I think a fall in bond prices remains a near term danger. Longer term, I think the key risk has to be the level of global debt as we return to more normalised interest rates; higher long term rates will of course be better for savers, but the transition to a more normal cycle may mean a difficult period of adjustment.
As a member of the management committee who also manages client portfolios, you’re in the thick of it – what are the big picture issues on the horizon that are affecting our industry?
One long term, industry- wide concern is the growing pensions gap that exists in the UK, exacerbated by the ageing population. Firms like ours can help but we need to be able to reach younger audiences to help them understand the importance of saving for their futures. Being able to offer wealth planning advice will be a valuable addition to what we already do.
What lessons that you’ve learned over your 25 year career would you tell a new starter to the industry?
I think being disciplined in your investment approach is critical; having conviction in your investments without becoming emotionally attached to any particular company, and not being afraid to sell investments that are not working but remaining patient with good companies that may be going through difficult periods.