For a small business – we have good and regular access to high level fund management. This reflects on the fact that as specialists, these managers know that we are a conduit for understanding clients concerns, as well as the managers knowing that we will be interested in their story.
Fund managers continue to beat a path to our door. In the last couple of months we have held meetings with Claudia Quiroz of Quilter Cheviot and David Osfield of Edentree.
Claudia runs the Quilter Cheviot (QC) Climate Asset fund and has recently taken over the investment mandate for the Old Mutual Ethical Fund (Old Mutual is QC parent company). The Climate Asset fund is a thematic fund, which has a strategy of investing in sectors that can help mitigate or manage the effects of climate change. Although it is not subject to strict ethical screens, its investment strategy means that it tends to invest positively and avoids most controversial areas. Therefore it holds renewables, water and utilities, but also a much wider range of assets in sectors such as healthcare, food and resources .
The fund manages on a multi-asset basis, meaning that it holds a mix of asset types making it like a mini portfolio. Unfortunately, that approach means that some discretionary managers won’t use it because their models require strict controls over equity and fixed interest. The good news therefore is that Claudia’s new role, as investment manager of the Old Mutual (ex-Skandia) ethical fund, means that overall strategy and expertise in now available within a Global Equity fund, meaning that the opportunity now exists for inclusion in discretionary services too. It’s also a bonus for any holders on the OM Ethical fund as Claudia’s long term performance has tended to be far more consistent that her predecessors.
You will note that we post quite a lot about EdenTree – that is both because we like them but also that they engage in thought leadership and produce high quality and accessible insights into a wide range of issues affecting the ethical investor today.
We were therefore delighted to meet with David Osfield of Edentree last month. David has recently moved from the ATI team and brings a passion for sustainability and a significant knowledge and experience of developing Asian markets. He is now co-manager of the Amity International fund– a fund which has been in the doldrums for a while but is now showing a pickup in performance. David spent some time talking to us about themes that he is exploring in investment in Asia. Developing markets have a much less rigorous reporting regime, so it becomes much more important to actually meet the investee companies and understand how they run their business and what their awareness of risk is. Davids on the ground experince in the market is therefore a vlauealbe asset for EdenTree. We look forward to watching for developments in the fortunes of this fund.