Near Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Married with two children
STARTED AT JM FINN
The Usual Suspects
Rugby, formerly playing then coaching my son’s mini and junior teams, to refereeing today.
PERSON YOU WOULD MOST LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH
Stephen Fry, who would inform and amuse in equal measure.
What have you particularly enjoyed about JM Finn since your arrival in October?
In my introduction to the company, I met with individuals from all parts of the business and I was most encouraged to hear a similar mantra from all; that their focus was to enable the investment staff to give the best possible service to their clients, by assisting us wherever possible to maximise the time spent managing investments and looking after our clients. A noticeable aspect that struck me when sat at my desk was the marked increase in noise levels on the floor. It soon became apparent that in the main, this was a mixture of staff on the telephone to clients or external analysts, talking to each other about various companies they were researching themselves and, just as importantly, the sound of people enjoying themselves It was very apparent that the mantra was indeed working and therefore it came as little surprise that the results of the client satisfaction survey, published in the previous quarter’s issue of Prospects, was so remarkably impressive. The collegiate atmosphere is driven by the management team, most of whom have experience in managing clients and understand the implications that their decisions make. The focus throughout JM Finn is to create the environment to maximise the client experience and is one I look forward to enjoying long into the future.
In light of the market uncertainties, have you made any significant alterations to your portfolios?
John Royden and his team of researchers have given exceptional guidance to the investment teams throughout the whole of this period and erred on the pessimistic side from the outset. I have recently looked back through our morning meeting notes since the start of the crisis and the steerage they have given us. I have been flexing portfolios away from certain assets, sectors and geographies, such as corporate bonds, banks and Europe and towards areas which have proved more robust, including gold and technology. This will have certainly helped clients’ portfolios during the recent falls. It is important however not to lose sight of the longer term implications of this cycle, which is equally important to the longer term investor and the work that the research team have carried out on sustainable dividend paying companies may prove crucial to clients that rely on income streams from their portfolios.
On the basis that it is going to take time for a recovery, what do you think will be most concerning for clients?
I believe the biggest concern will be from those who invest for income. Since the start of the crisis we have seen fiscal action from global governments to support companies, in the hope that when the crisis abates, these companies will still exist. Understandably, they have instructed the companies who are utilising these schemes to cease dividend payments, which will have a hugely derogatory effect on the availability of income paying equity. When companies resume dividend payments, we may well also see them coming in at lower levels than offered before as the company continues on its recovery path. The amount of money that will be pumped into the system will put post-2008 Quantitative Easing in the shade. The implications for this could have a marked effect in the longer term on all asset prices and this could lead to inflation. If this out-paces interest rates and therefore available income, it will be a difficult time to live off income alone for those only just getting by.