Our first principle is that those who have money should focus on not losing it. We consider risk to generally be the avoidance of permanent capital loss. We take a long term, long only approach to investing in equities, fixed interest, as well as other asset classes.
Our approach frees us from benchmarks. For the index driven fund manager, investment decisions in many cases are affected by the fear of becoming left behind rather than genuine enthusiasm for the investment opportunity.
We are unconventional, careful – and driven by fundamental concepts.
Our fund managers’ experience gives an independent perspective on the relative valuations of key asset classes allowing asset allocation decisions to remain taken with conviction. We avoid investments that we dislike or don’t understand, and instead focus on sectors and markets where we can identify real value – even if this means not capturing all the upside within an overheated market.
After spanning a decade in which equity markets have made little progress, the current investment practice remains fully invested and also to endure the rollercoaster ride. We feel it is critical to be capable of move in and out of markets to build absolute returns for investors. This flexibility has led our investors to experience a much more comfortable ride. We now have strong views about the long term valuations of asset classes and invest accordingly. Your cash will never burn a hole in our pocket. We invest after due thought and will always wait patiently for possibilities to present themselves.
We’ve the scope to purchase an extensive selection of resource classes including stocks, bonds, index-linked bonds, preference shares and gold and silver. We make resource allocation choices with conviction, promoting proper, not tactical, changes to investment portfolios.
Intellectual curiosity and experience drive our investment ideas, enabling us to identify interesting companies. We favour investing in sustainable business franchises and carefully consider factors such as long term performance, allocation of capital, return on investment, cash flow and balance sheets – all of which we examine in detail. Equity portfolios are constructed without any reference to benchmarks. The investments are chosen from a universe of around 250 stocks which is constantly evolving.
Buying at the right price is critical to generating good long-term returns. We seek to invest in high quality stocks at the right valuation, and we will wait patiently for the right opportunity before investing. Our portfolios tend to be concentrated, and the stocks within them held for long periods – usually between three and five years.
Our long term approach enables us to filter out, and take advantage of, the short term noise of the markets. This means that we often make investment decisions against the prevailing consensus, enabling us to buy and sell when the herd is looking the other way.
We look to buy when a company’s share price significantly understates its long term potential. No single valuation approach should be applied across different types of businesses, industrial sectors and geographic regions. Cash earnings are an important starting point in our analysis, closely followed by dividend yield, price to book value and return on capital. Balance sheet strength is also critical in avoiding large losses.
We operate a strict selling discipline. If we believe that a stock is overvalued, where investor expectations are too high, or the fundamentals have changed – or that we simply got it wrong – we will sell.