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The Money Maze Podcast
71 minutes | Jul 27, 2021
Global Investing, Public and Private Markets: A rare interview with Peter Davies of Lansdowne Partners
The FT has described our guest on this episode as one of 30 most influential people in the City of London. Moreover in the world of public and private investing there is repeated acknowledgement of him being one of today’s great investment thinkers. The firm he joined back in 2001, Lansdowne Partners, is widely admired amongst the global institutional investment community, and his perspectives and performance have been widely sought after. In this conversation, we discuss Peter’s investing career to date, his approach to evaluating companies, public and private, the exciting IP being developed around Oxford University and why he is so excited about the business and investing landscape today, along with other important perspectives. Peter initially describes the formative early years at Mercury Investment Management, some of the lessons he learned about investing and building a successful investment culture. He then describes his decision to join Lansdowne in 2001 and why he wanted to exploit the long/short opportunity set. He describes the analysis undertaken to identify Northern Rock as a highly vulnerable institution and how they established a potent short position that was immensely profitable for their investors. He continues by discussing the work post the Great Financial Crisis that led them to invest in many global brands as well as being early investors in the major tech platform companies such as Google and Amazon etc. Fast forwarding he describes the move to become long-only, the investment culture that they have created at Lansdowne. which incorporates an important need to calibrate and understand a wide range of possible outcomes for each investment they consider. Peter then moves to talk about the UK investing landscape and the opportunities he believes exist in public and private markets. Specifically he discusses some of the opportunities emanating from Oxford University and why the vaccine success offers opportunities for significant leaps forward in medical and other productivity gains. He also explains why he feels UK political risk has been mispriced and the important investing opportunities he has identified. He describes his involvement with world class sports men and women, and learning lessons about decision making under pressure. He also talks about balancing time pressures, improving his own productive capabilities and lessons he would share with others. Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn
44 minutes | Jul 27, 2021
[REPLAY] A Conversation with Simon Hallett - Former CIO of Harding Loevner & Owner of Plymouth Argyle FC
Simon Hallett, former CIO of the $80 billion asset manager, Harding Loevner, describes his journey from Plymouth, England, to Oxford University and then Hong Kong before boldly heading to the USA. Harding Loevner’s impressive 30 year track record in managing global equities is examined, with a discussion that covers behavioural biases, the need to restrict portfolio managers’ freedom, to the increasing reliance on quantitative disciplines to enhance the investment process. Hallett explains why top-down thinking should be strictly limited in building an equity portfolio, why their firm has only 2 Bloomberg terminals and stock-price watching is actively discouraged. He also discusses the merits of being partially owned by Affiliated Managers Group (AMG). Finally he then explains his decision to buy Plymouth Argyle Football Club – heart over logic, possibly, but why the management of a football team and player selections have more in common with selecting stocks than you might think. Finally he gives some great advice to “keep your nose clean” and “ stay the course” – applicable for both football and investing! To celebrate our latest interview, featuring Peter Davies of Lansdowne Partners, we're re-releasing this episode thanks to the similar themes discussed. Like Harding Loevner, Lansdowne Partners is focused on international equity investing. Both firms have benefitted from the post-2010 boom in high growth tech stocks. Additionally, both Peter and Simon have links to Oxford University, and both figures cite the sporting world as an inspiration for their investing strategy and philosophy. Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn
40 minutes | Jul 13, 2021
Building a Global Luxury Watch Brand - With Giles English, Founder and CEO of Bremont Watches
When we talk of luxury watches we typically think of Switzerland with its quality engineering and dominant market position, apparently illustrating the economist David Riccardo’s theory of comparative advantage. Yet in this conversation, we learn that at the turn of the last century, Britain was producing 200,000 watches a year, around half the worldwide output and that Rolex was founded in London in 1905. Giles English talks about the plane accident that killed his Father and almost took his brother’s life as well, yet how the tragedy proved the inspiration to build a luxury watch brand, which can compete with the best. After describing the history of British watch making, with some fascinating anecdotes, Giles explains how he and his Brother Nick have approached the two components; building a state of the art watch making capability & developing a luxury brand. Giles describes the engineering challenges involved, the technical aspects of precision engineering, and why seeing the Bremont collections can be a lightbulb moment for collectors He talks about the collaborations and collections with Jaguar, Concorde, Stephen Hawking and Bletchley Park to name a few, and their vision for the future. He also talks about competing with the deep-pocketed luxury brand groups and the approach to establishing long-term financing as they expand into Asia and the US. Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn
45 minutes | Jul 13, 2021
[REPLAY] Developing a Prestigious Fine Art Photography Business - With David Yarrow of David Yarrow Photography
David Yarrow is considered one of the world’s greatest photographers. 3 former US presidents have his masterpieces on their walls, along with a string of actors and sports personalities and he oversees a multi million dollar fine-art business. He has helped raise $8 million for charity, and his energy and passion for his work mean that up to the outbreak of coronavirus, he had not spent 18 days in the same place in the last 2 years. This is all after spending the first 25 years of his life in the City, first as a broker and then starting his own Hedge Fund, Clareville Capital, which he ran for 17 years. Dave Yarrow talks about his youth, growing up in Glasgow, and his passion for photography that led him to take the iconic shot of Maradona in the Azteca Stadium, trophy aloft, at the 1986 Mexico World Cup. He talks about his reasons for joining the City, and the journey from broking to establish his own hedge fund, Clareville Capital in 1997. He gives a frank assessment of the highs and lows of managing money, and the capricious nature of the investing community. Having continued to take photographs, and with marital and business difficulties weighing on him, he takes the leap to start DY Photography. This second career reveals an enthralling story into a world which required developing new skills and understanding where the opportunity lay. As with money management the key lay in great groundwork and research before careful execution. He describes how he became “a photo-maker, not a photo-taker” and how he has grown a business built on extraordinary shots, with compelling animals, people, and iconic settings and shots. He talks about navigating the maze of social media and helping raise over $8 million for charities. Finally, he gives his advice for today’s youth thinking about their future. What a journey! To mark our latest episode release, featuring Giles English (Co-Founder of Bremont), we are re-releasing our conversation with David Yarrow thanks to the similar themes discussed. Both individuals faced significant personal hurdles on their journeys, yet both are now highly successful luxury goods entrepreneurs. They share a deep passion for their respective products, and both had stints in finance before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship. David's interview was originally recorded in June 2020. Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn
48 minutes | Jun 24, 2021
Private Equity and Leveraged Buyouts: A Discussion with Guy Hands, CEO of Terra Firma
In this episode, Guy Hands describes being sent to a special needs school because of profound dyslexia, how he dealt with the challenge, won a place at Oxford and from there, young and indebted, joined Goldman Sachs. He describes the emergence of the eurobond market, how he was soon running their asset structuring business, and why Nomura persuaded him to use their capital to develop their LBO journey. He describes buying pubs and railway rolling stock, the $6 billion generated for the firm, and the establishment of Terra Firma. He talks about the business model, the early successes, and types of transactions they looked for, before discussing the merits and demerits of PE investing, for both investors and the economy. He talks about the risks should interest rates normalize, where the problems might surface, and the very particular failure of his investment in EMI. He analyses lessons learned from that episode, how it has influenced his thinking on deals, and how Terra Firma assesses each transaction today. He discloses some of the asset allocation thinking of his family office and the importance of a large “real asset” component. Guy talks about his charitable endeavours; where and why he gives. He speaks candidly about the lessons and scars from the EMI episode, and how he should have asked for professional help, both mentally and physically. He describes suffering a stroke and re-emerging with a strong sense of the need to do good and not just make money. Finally, he offers some clear advice for today’s youth in terms of careers, qualities he looks for in candidates and a surprising book choice! Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn
33 minutes | Jun 24, 2021
[REPLAY] Investing in Africa: A Conversation with Anthony St John, 22nd Baron St John of Bletso
In a slightly different conversation for the Money Maze Podcast, Anthony St John shares his fascinating journey and investment insights. Anthony is a Non-Executive Chairman of Yellow Cake PLC, a specialist company operating in the uranium sector. He's also the Chairman of Strand Hanson (an independent advisory boutique with a strong African orientation) and Chairman of IDH, a health care provider in the Middle East and Africa. Furthermore, he's one of 90 hereditary peers elected to remain in the House of Lords, is Lord in waiting to the HM the Queen, the Vice Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Africa Group and a former friend of Nelson Mandela. Educated in South Africa and then the UK, he talks of his arrival in the UK to take his seat in the House of Lords and how he was initially hugely inhibited by a stutter that was reminiscent of the King’s Speech. In our conversation he speaks of his journey from being a lawyer, to working in China, working as an oil analyst, then being chairman of three companies whilst managing his Parliamentary duties. Our discussion covers investing in Africa, cyber security, uranium and its role in the evolving debate about energy sources, as well as his relationship with Nelson Mandela. Finally, Anthony gives some powerful advice to young people thinking about their future and some additional tips for navigating life’s veritable money and other mazes! Interview originally recorded in August 2020. In our latest release, Simon spoke to Guy Hands, Chairman & Founder of Terra Firma. We are replaying this episode due to similar themes discussed in both interviews, with both guests overcoming psychological disadvantages in their careers. For Anthony, his stutter presented a major challenge to his legal career. He successfully overcame this thanks to speech therapy (taken on the advice of a former British Prime Minister), and is now a highly successful Parliamentarian and business tycoon. For Guy, his dyslexia made reading a challenge in his early career. Yet this proved no dampener on his ambition, and actually turned out to be an advantage given that it meant he read investment prospectuses more carefully than his peers at Goldman Sachs (helping him becoming Head of Eurobond Trading at just 26!). Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn
44 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
$1.3 Trillion – Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund: Nicolai Tangen, CEO, discusses their investment approach.
In this podcast, we have an enlightening conversation with Nicolai Tangen, CEO of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund and seasoned and successful investor. Norway’s great wealth is in large part courtesy of its oil riches, discovered in 1969. With great vision, the Government’s response to the discovery was the decision to create a separate, segregated fund, away from politicians’ grasp, to serve Norway’s current and future citizens. Nicolai describes his education and early investing experiences at Cazenove and Egerton, before starting the extremely successful hedge fund AKO. He talks about his education, refreshed throughout his career, and his decision to become the CEO of Norway’s SWF, otherwise known as Pension Fund Global. Nicolai talks about his immense delight in being appointed CEO, and how the investment strategy is evolving under his stewardship. He speaks about his wish to use risk in a slightly more productive way, how private assets are assessed and incorporated going forward, and how deep forensic analysis such as that undertaken in the case of Wirecard will lead them to exclude companies that might otherwise be owned as part of their ownership of 9,000 globally. The conversation encompasses a discussion about the lofty valuations exhibited within ESG assets, the stocks excluded from their investment portfolio and shown on the website, and the tension between divesting and remaining a shareholder of companies in transition. Nicolai explains why techniques drawn from behavioural analysis can help them assess the risks embedded within potential investments; the resilience that can be learned from top athletes, the dangers of inflation returning and the long term challenges facing investors and the world more generally. Finally he offers some pithy Norwegian advice on cooking, sailing, endurance, charity and why introverts are such an underutilised asset.
37 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
[REPLAY] Peter Harrison CEO, Schroders PLC.
Peter Harrison, included in Debrett’s 500 most influential people, starts by describing a rebellious youth that led him to reject his family’s wish to study Theology at Oxbridge and instead to make a decision to go to Bath University to study Business in the 1980s. From there he talks of his first job at Schroders, working as an analyst, and further experiences he had at Newton, Flemings, Deutsche Asset Management and then a start-up, RWC. Peter describes their merger with Schroders and his ascent to CEO, and the journey from managing money to managing an investment business. The conversation moves to him talking about the compelling opportunities in Global Asset Management, contrary to some gloomy commentaries that we often read. He talks of the shift to managing money to solve problems and not simply to be benchmarked, and the evolution of active and passive strategies. He describes Schroder’s vision of serving the individual customer, both affluent and high net worth, with the help of more electronic applications, a wider public and private offering and trying to help them avoid classic pitfalls of poor timing in entering and exiting the market. He also explains why although he thinks ESG must be embedded in your investment process, it will morph into a more coherent drive for impact investing. Peter also gives his thoughts on the growth of private equity, and the challenge facing stock markets buffeted by weighty regulation and diminished liquidity. He then discusses advice for the young thinking about future career, and some of the characteristics he looks for in potential hires.
50 minutes | May 27, 2021
Wine - To Invest or Consume? Gary Boom, Founder & CEO of Bordeaux Index
In this episode Gary Boom, CEO of Bordeaux Index starts by explaining how the poorly organised, past its sell-by- date old model of wine trading has been revolutionised by Bordeaux Index over the last 20 years, with the introduction of scale, liquidity and expertise underscoring the investment attributes of fine wines and whiskies. The conversation examines long term data provided by Credit Suisse who found that post-World War Two, collectible wines have delivered returns of circa 10% nominal, and real returns of around 7% USD (per annum) . Gary discusses the composition of returns and the indices used to measure them, and explains why consumption creates a virtuous circle, where replacement and scarcity provide strong tailwinds. He talks about the liquidity provided by Live Trade, which they established and which provides narrow bid/ask spreads in over 500 wines. He talks about the Chinese influence in buying high-end Bordeaux wines, the Champagne and Burgundy markets’ evolution as well as how challenges around counterfeiting are being met. With reference to the late Stephen Spurrier, he discusses the rise of some of the great new world wines which wines he believes will prove good investments and how family offices and wealthy individuals can build significant portfolios of wine to take advantage of its lower correlation to other assets. He speaks about climate impact on wine producing regions, his gloomy view on UK wines and why Bollinger group has taken a stake in their business. Finally he talks about why wine has proved and continues to be a great career for both sexes, some advice for today’s youth, and whose wines and their owners he would most like to meet and drink.
39 minutes | May 20, 2021
Forestry Investing: Growth & Carbon Credits? Olly Hughes of Gresham House
If you were proposed an investment whose annualized return over the past 25 years have been over 9%, offered inflation protection, was environmentally sustainable, asset backed, growing, generated carbon credits, and had low correlation to other assets. you might think it sounds too good to be true, because in investing there is rarely a free lunch - So in this episode we examine an asset class that appears at first glance to have a powerfully persuasive set of positive attributes, Forestry. To discuss this our guest is Olly Hughes, managing Director of Forestry for Gresham House, the UK’s largest forestry investor. Olly describes his journey from studying Zoology at Oxford, to becoming involved in asset backed finance in Asia, before turning to renewables investing. He describes the key drivers of Forestry investing, encompassing the macro forces of urbanisation, housing shortages and decarbonisation. He explains the growing institutional interest in the sector, the challenges of supply and the changes in land use and evolving opportunity set. He distils the investment proposition for forestry, reviewing its natural growth factor, inflation protection, low correlation to other assets but also reflects on the asset class’s low liquidity, vulnerability to natural disease and disasters and answers the question as to who this asset class is appropriate for. Olly discusses the carbon capture and carbon credit elements that he believes are proving secular, not cyclical, before analysing both the beneficial tax status Forestry enjoys, the opportunities across geographies, and why he remains firmly optimistic about future returns.
39 minutes | May 13, 2021
My bet with Warren Buffett. Ted Seides CEO Capital Allocators
Today’s conversation is with one of America’s most successful investment podcasters, with over 5 million downloads, and who has also worked with one of the investment greats, David Swensen at Yale University Endowment and put himself in the firing line by having the infamous bet with Buffett, whilst at his former firm, Protege partners. Ted has a gilt-edged education, Yale and the Harvard Business School and he describes beginning his investment journey at the Yale Endowment under Dave Swensen, who so sadly has just died. Ted is also author of 2 books on investing, “So you want to start a hedge fund” & just released “How the world’s elite money managers lead and invest” Ted describes his upbringing, education and how he secured the job at Yale after listening to a lecture by Swensen. He then talks about his decision to leave to study for an MBA at Harvard Business School before then starting Protégé partners. He describes how he came to make the bet with Warren Buffet, that a portfolio of Hedge Funds would outperform the S&P 500 over 10 years, which taken early in 2007, looked heroic. Time however, reversed it, in favour of Buffett, and Ted describes the interactions with Buffett and his perspectives thereafter when building capital allocators. He talks about the biggest gain from the bet, which was getting to know Buffett personally. Ted talks about the lessons he has learned from interviewing some of the great money managers and allocators of capital and his perspectives on what great investors do, what they often avoid doing, and why “our brains are hard-wired to make bad decisions”! Ted talks about the Hedge Fund paradox, where he comes out on the active v passive debate and how he would think about populating an investment committee Finally he offers some valuable advice for youth, for investors and why we here at the MoneyMaze Podcast think his new book is a “must read”.
51 minutes | Apr 29, 2021
The End of Cash? “No!" Says Clive Vacher, CEO of De La Rue plc
Today on the Money Maze Podcast we discuss the future of cash and bank notes. Throughout its history cash has inspired two persistent forces; fascination and forgery. Whilst the accepted narrative is that the use of cash is on a glide path to extinction, De la Rue’s CEO, Clive Vacher offers his view that such a perspective is both premature and contradicted by a growing population whose access to digital cash and e payments is not within reach. He argues that cash is still on the rise! Clive who has been referred to as “the best turnaround specialist you haven’t heard of” starts with his upbringing and great academic successes and then describes his experience at companies like Rolls Royce and Bae before taking up the challenge of turning around De la Rue whose future had looked challenging. Clive talks of the other business that sits alongside their globally deployed cash-production expertise, namely authentication and anti-fraud protocols. He explains why the authentication division is growing so fast, the theory behind a vaccine passport, tax stamps and their “traceology” platforms. He shines light on why these anti-fraud mechanisms have never been more relevant as counterfeiters have not locked-down and the value of such illegal actions are estimated by the WTO to exceed $2 trillion. Clive explains why he is excited about their future, why the 1000 patents they own have intriguing optionality, and why he has confounded the sceptics so far. Finally he offers some potent advice about dealing with turnrounds, his role model in running a business, who he would like to fly with his helicopter license, and why his most important daily habit is talking to his employees. Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn
37 minutes | Apr 20, 2021
Tracy Blackwell, CEO of the Pension Insurance Corporation
In today’s conversation we are joined by Tracy Blackwell, CEO of the Pension Insurance Corporation (P.I.C.). Whilst this company may be below the radar screen for many, it is at the epicentre of an industry undergoing rapid transformation, and undertaking an essential investment activity that is critical to everyone; pensions. The historical importance of pensions is unchanged, from soldiers who served in the Roman armies who were guaranteed an income after they retired to employees in today’s enterprises. Tracy initially describes her journey as a daughter of a single Mother, growing up in Illinois, then moving to Malaysia, then to Business school and from there to Goldman Sachs. She describes rising to head up risk at Goldman Sachs’s asset management division, before her move to the Pension Insurance Corporation Tracy takes us through an explanation of the fast-evolving £2 trillion market for private defined benefit pensions. She discusses the surprising fact that only four countries in the world have had such schemes and why companies and trustees increasingly recognise that managing the long term liabilities of their current and former employees’ pensions requires different skills from running their core business. She illustrates the immense changes underway in the insuring and management of pensions, describes the key forces at work, and the investable assets that meet regulatory requirements. She also explains the need for regulatory changes and the less-discussed flexibility leaving the EU might offer in this regard. She provides a case study, Philips, as to how the process works, the asset allocation challenges in today’s minimal yielding world, but why this vast pool of assets gives the UK an enormous opportunity to provide long-term financing for some of UK’s infrastructure and housing needs. The discussion refers to the work carried out entitled “purpose of finance”, a thought piece found on their website, and the inter-generational transfer that this pool of assets offers in long-term financing. Finally, Tracy reflects on being an American in the UK, offers advice for young, and why her favourite film is Gone with the Wind. Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn
1 minutes | Apr 20, 2021
Money Maze Podcast Trailer
Enjoy our host, Simon Brewer, summarise the show here! The world of finance has a huge impact on all of us. Created by two industry veterans, this show aims to explore and unravel some of the mysteries surrounding the investing business. Whether you're a current investment professional, a student exploring career options, or just someone with an interest in the stories behind some of the most influential names in business, we hope you gain some helpful insights and enjoy the shows. Money Maze Podcast Newsletter: https://moneymazepodcast.us8.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=81be3573b8a8a1d2fe3530e77&id=53502604e7 Follow Us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-money-maze-podcast/?viewAsMember=true Follow Us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moneymazepodcast/
53 minutes | Apr 6, 2021
Merck Mercuriadis - The Music Man : Play me that investment!
Today we turn to music as an investment theme, and our guest has worked with the greats, from Elton John to Beyonce, and has been in the front row of the music business for nearly 40 years. He is CEO of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Ltd, a FTSE 250 company and the first UK investment company offering a pure play exposure to songs and music i.p. Music and back catalogues have seen growing investor interest and a number of vehicles have, and are being developed to offer investors access to long duration income streams, often via listed entities. Merck talks about growing up in Canada, making it to his first Kiss concert, working for Simon Draper and Richard Branson at Virgin records, before spending nearly 2 decades at Sanctuary music, where his client list featured some of the great musicians of all time. He talks about the changing nature of the music business, from the Bowie Bonds to the astonishing development that today over 90 % of US households have a music streaming subscription. From a discretionary purchase to a utility within a decade! Merck explains the current economics of the revenue splits, and why he believes that the artists have often not received a fair deal. He explains how a $12 monthly music subscription is split. He then details how Hipgnosis has acquired 57,000 songs and spent £1.2bn since listing on the London Stock Exchange three years ago, and why buying the highest quality catalogues of proven songs generates current and new revenue opportunities through song management. He talks about the rights once the catalogues are owned that endure 70 years after the artist’s death and whose revenues can accrue to investors. Equally he explains how owning the song allows you to take as an example, Blondie’s Heart of Glass and not just license it to Tik Tok, but reinvent it with current artists like Miley Cyrus. Merck talks about song selection, helping insert songs into movies and commercials, maximising song potential and how technology is changing the music business. He explains why London was chosen for the listing, reflects on some of the greats with whom he has worked and concludes that the new world of Music, makes it compelling for investing and for job prospects. And the show closes with the great line…. “If you got the money honey, I got the time, and when you run out of money honey I run out of time”.
57 minutes | Mar 25, 2021
Sir Martin Sorrell; Advertising giant, CEO of S4 Capital and former CEO of WPP
In today’s interview we have the opportunity for a detailed conversation with a man who has been at the forefront of advertising and marketing communications for 5 decades. Founder of WPP, its CEO for 33 years, he is now the creator of S4 Capital, an entirely digital advertising and marketing business at the epicenter of a marketing and commercial revolution. Sir Martin describes his youth and upbringing, and the ambition that drove him, which he ascribes to his grandparents who arrived in the UK as refugees. He describes his path to Cambridge and Harvard Business School, working for Mark McCormack at IMG before joining Saatchi & Saatchi. He talks about the advertising world that was ripe for disruption, his decision to buy and build WPP into the world’s largest agency, and the battles and challenges and near-death corporate experiences en route. He describes what lies behind his staying power, ambition, and how S4 Capital was conceived. In a rapid time period, S4 Capital has become a major force in the new world order of digital communications and already has a market capitalisation of £2.6 billion. He describes the strategy around building a purely digital advertising and marketing services business, serving major companies around the world and why the Holy Trinity of first-party data, digital content and programmatic advertising will super charge the next wave of growth in the industry. He talks about growth through acquisition, partnerships and culture and the need today to build strong links directly to the consumer and the shifting emphasis to digital, and away from legacy advertising. He explains the dominance of the major tech companies, their evolution and current challenges, and what is going on in the minds of CEOs and their boards. Finally, there is some advice from one of the world’s great corporate warriors about resilience, determination and the need for speed in surviving and thriving.
55 minutes | Mar 18, 2021
MMP Replay: Sir Xavier Rolet - Why European Capital Markets Have Failed
The Money Maze Podcast this week is re-uploading our episode with Sir Xavier Rolet, due to the topics covered last week with Sir Chris Hohn, who invested in the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) when Mr Rolet led the firm's transformation (find out more about this episode here). Rolet talks in-depth about the reorientation he undertook whilst CEO of the London Stock Exchange and the succession of transformatory deals which he engineered, propelling the value of the company from under £1 billion to £14 billion in just 9 years. He goes into a detailed explanation of why “the only asset that creates wealth is equities”, why boardrooms are filled with people ill-versed in technology and innovation, and why France along with other European countries have failed to grasp the opportunity to develop the Googles and Amazons of Europe. He then discusses why London has a good chance of retaining its pre-eminence as a financial centre, notwithstanding Brexit, because of its global reach in multiple areas of finance. Originally recorded in October 2020.
31 minutes | Mar 11, 2021
Sir Chris Hohn. Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager and Philanthropist
In this episode we have the rare opportunity to talk to Sir Chris Hohn, founder of TCI, one of the world’s most successful hedge funds and benefactor of the $6 billion children’s charity (CIFF) and now agitator against corporations who are failing to properly address their climate change transition plans. The conversation starts with an insight into Chris’s upbringing, the sharpened appetite he believes accompanied being a child of immigrants, his journey from school to Harvard Business School and then to the world of investing, first in private equity and then to public equity markets. He discusses key mentors as he was learning the investment business, his early experience investing before launching The Children’s Investment Fund and its evolving investment approach. Chris talks of the work undertaken at his charity (CIFF) which highlighted to him the impact climate change was having on poverty, child destitution and destruction of the planet. This evidence has driven Chris to the creation of “Say on Climate” (www.sayonclimate.org ) given that companies are responsible for 35% of global emissions, yet typically lack climate transition plans. Chris identifies the corporate behaviours that need addressing most urgently, what corporations must do the effect proper change, and the potential consequences of inaction. He describes the Say on Climate AGM resolution which requires annual disclosure of emissions, the plan to manage them, and how they will be judged going forward. Chris talks about the dangers of passive investing with regard to this issue, the global variations in response, and the environmental downsides of bitcoin euphoria. Finally, he talks about the examples set by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, lessons for those early in their careers, and sound advice involving following your passion and thinking about who you want to become.
53 minutes | Feb 25, 2021
Anne Richards: CEO, Fidelity International
Our guest today is Anne Richards, CEO of Fidelity International, who offer investment solutions, investment services and retirement expertise to more than 2.5 million customers globally. As a privately held, purpose-driven company with a 50-year heritage, they think generationally and invest for the long term. Fidelity International operates in more than 25 countries and with $706.3 billion in total assets, their clients range from central banks, sovereign wealth funds, large corporates, financial institutions, insurers and wealth managers, to private individuals. Anne describes her upbringing in Edinburgh, the decision to study electronic and electrical engineering, spending time at CERN, before going to INSEAD for an MBA. She describes the purpose of Fidelity International and the changing demands of the investing population. Anne discusses the ability of technology to serve clients (of whom they have 2.5 million!), as well as developing a culture that embraces and encourages the “brave/bold/curious/compassionate”. Anne explains how ESG principles are embedded into all their research work and why their approach to ESG does not necessarily mean divestment is the optimal course. She talks about the decline of public market listings, the importance of research in public and private investing and giving their managers enough room for manoeuvre. Finally, she talks about her drive and hunger to have more women work in finance and gives great advice to “worry less” for those thinking about their careers.
44 minutes | Feb 18, 2021
Simon Hallett, former CIO of Harding Loevner and owner of Plymouth Argyle Football Club
Simon Hallett, former CIO of the $80 billion Asset manager, Harding Loevner, describes his journey from Plymouth, England, to Oxford University and then to Finance. Starting at Midland Bank, Simon moves to Jardine Fleming in Hong Kong, and he describes an amateurish investing world that was transforming, and his decision to swap continents and join Harding Loevner, then a start-up in 1989. Harding Loevner’s impressive 30 year track record in managing global equities is examined, with a discussion that covers behavioural biases, the need to restrict portfolio managers’ freedom, to the increasing reliance on quantitative disciplines to enhance the investment process. He describes the challenge of staying with winners and the difficulties of dealing with losing companies, in a portfolio context, and what happens when a firm’s assets halve three times in 30 years during bear markets and the challenge of swimming against the current. He explains why top-down thinking should be strictly limited in building an equity portfolio, why their firm has only 2 Bloomberg terminals and stock-price watching is actively discouraged. He also discusses the merits of being partially owned by Affiliated managers Group, AMG. He then explains his decision to buy Plymouth Argyle Football club – heart over logic, possibly, but why the management of a football team and player selections have more in common with selecting stocks than you might think. Finally he gives some great advice to “keep your nose clean” and “ stay the course” – applicable for both football and investing!
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