10 March 2021

Isabel Kwok

Investment Manager, Bristol

by Isabel Kwok

Investment Manager


LIVES 
Bristol

FAMILY
Married with two young children

STARTED AT JM FINN
Autumn, 2017

FAVOURITE BOOK
The Coral Island by R.M.Ballantyne 

HERO
Olivia Coleman - she’s just fabulous in everything

PASSION
Baking - definitely a case of enthusiasm over ability though! 

 


As a working mother, how have you juggled the work/life balance over the last 12 months?

My children are four and six, so for me juggling work and life is not a new concept, and in fact there have been some benefits to working from home – spending more time with the family, and not having to contend with the daily commute through rush hour traffic.  That said, I do miss the camaraderie and idea sharing which takes place in the office, and being able to meet my clients in person.  

Clearly the last year has been challenging for everyone. For working parents like my husband and I, it’s been the dual pressures of entertaining / educating young children whilst also working from home.  However, there has been a bit of a levelling of the playing field, and perhaps a bit more empathy (and dare I say it admiration) towards working parents as a result.  It almost seems laughable now that the headline news on the BBC on 10th March 2017 was Prof. Robert Kelly being interrupted during a live interview by his two young children - I think most working parents probably had one of those moments during lockdown. 

Which areas of your portfolios have been the biggest contributing factor to outperformance last year?

Perhaps unsurprisingly technology stocks have had a stellar year.  As our movements have been restricted, so we have sought to compensate with technological solutions.  Whether that is using tablets to home school the children, shopping online to avoid unnecessary trips to the shops or upgrading the Wi-Fi package that enable the family to work and learn throughout lockdown with multiple devices running in tandem.  The pandemic has rapidly accelerated these trends and we can see the results in the share prices of businesses like Amazon, Microsoft and Ocado.

As our sector specialist for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) funds, are you seeing a lot more interest in this area?

Absolutely; there was already a notable increase in interest in ESG, and if anything the last twelve months has galvanised considerably more interest in the area. The pandemic feels a bit like a moment of reckoning. The impacts are both vast and daunting, so it doesn’t take a huge leap of the imagination to consider the potential consequences of unchecked climate change, for instance. Many investors are now far more aware of the impacts of some of these existential risks, and also the opportunity set that comes with the solutions that might yet mitigate them.

What do you see as the biggest challenges on the horizon for JM Finn?

Rapid technological changes are proving to be a big headwind for many companies as they enable newcomers to leapfrog established businesses.  We see this across the economy, from retail to banking, and even car manufacturers – so I think we need to be alive to the changes taking place within our industry and evolve and adapt with them. Ultimately though, our core strength is that we are a people business with long and established client relationships that are built on trust.

Understanding Finance

Helping clients understand what we do is key to building relationships. To explain some of the industry jargon that creeps into our world, we’ve pulled together a section of our site to help.

Managing your wealth

Managing your wealth


Also in this issue

As I write, it certainly feels that spring is upon us.  Not only are the evenings getting lighter and the buds are appearing in the garden, but there is light at the end of the lockdown tunnel.  

Today,  ASOS is best recognised as a leading online fashion retailer.

Assura is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that specialises in UK primary care medical centre real estate.

Spring Issue Thirty Four