T. Rowe Price Global Equity Fund
Founded in Baltimore in 1937, T. Rowe Price has grown in to one of the world’s largest fund managers with more than USD$1 trillion in funds under management. T. Rowe Price continues to focus exclusively on investment management and retains the founders key mantra “if you take care of your clients, your clients will take care of you.”
The current portfolio manager, Scott Berg has been part of the management team since 2008 and took over the helm mid-way through 2012. Scott looks for attractively valued, great durable growers that can compound their earnings over time at double-digit rates. These companies should yield strong returns, but do not have the same risk as companies in the hyper growth phase of their life cycle.
Generate has had the pleasure of hosting Scott in Auckland a number of times. Scott is quick to emphasise that the strong performance track record has been built with the support of T. Rowe Price’s deep analytical resource. On top of the 150 research analysts that scour the world for attractive investment opportunities, Scott can also leverage off the work carried out by 60 other portfolio managers.
Apart from the depth of analytical resource available to the management team, a key differentiator of the Global Equity Fund is its ‘truly global’ nature with investments in a significantly more diverse range of countries than comparable funds.
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The Magellan Global Fund
Magellan Asset Management is a specialist funds management business based in Sydney, Australia. It manages global equities and global listed infrastructure strategies for high net worth, retail and institutional investors.
Magellan is a high conviction manager, which is reflected in the relatively concentrated portfolio of this fund. The fund typically holds between 20-40 companies, which is significantly less than the index and a number of peers.
Magellan looks for companies that are able to sustainably exploit competitive advantages and consequently generate strong returns on capital. They are focused on acquiring these quality companies at attractive prices. However, they argue that this does not necessarily rule out investing in companies trading on high price-to-earnings and price-to-book multiples as these metrics are not necessarily a good gauge of intrinsic value.
The investment objectives of the Global Fund are to achieve attractive risk-adjusted returns over the medium to long term, while reducing the risk of permanent capital loss.
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Berkshire Hathaway Inc
Led by famed value investor Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway's success has been built on the firm's record of acquiring and managing a portfolio of businesses with enduring competitive advantages.
Whether through direct ownership of individual companies or via significant shareholdings, Buffett has typically looked to acquire firms that have consistent earnings power, generate above average returns on capital, have little to no debt, and have solid management teams. Once purchased, these businesses tend to remain in Berkshire's portfolio, with sales seldom occurring.
In the early part of his career at Berkshire, Buffett focused on long-term investments in publicly quoted stocks, but more recently he has turned to buying whole companies. Berkshire now owns a diverse range of businesses including insurance, confectionery, railroad, real estate, jewellery, and several regional electric and gas utilities. Some of the companies that Berkshire has investments in include Kraft Heinz, American Express and BNSF Railway.
Berkshire Hathaway averaged annual growth in market value of 20.9% for its shareholders from the end of 1964 to the end of 2017, which is more than twice the 9.9% return of the S&P 500 with dividends included for the same period. It is not surprising that Berkshire Hathaway is one of the very largest companies in the world given this exceptional track record. Readers should note that past performance is not necessarily a good guide of future performance.
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Worldwide Healthcare Trust
Worldwide Healthcare Trust Plc (WWH) is a London Stock Exchange listed investment company that holds a portfolio of biotechnology, pharmaceutical, healthcare equipment, healthcare technology and healthcare services companies.
The manager of WWH, Orbimed Capital, is the largest independent specialist investor in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors in the world. It employs over 80 investment professionals and has offices in New York, San Francisco, Herzliya, Shanghai and Mumbai.
When investing in listed equities, OrbiMed looks for companies that have underappreciated products in the pipeline, high quality management teams and adequate financial resources. When managing WWH, Orbimed employs a disciplined portfolio construction process to build a portfolio focused on their highest conviction investment ideas.
To maintain its large cap focus, at least 60% of the portfolio must be invested in stocks with a market cap over USD$5 billion. As a counterweight up to 10% of assets can be invested in unquoted companies.
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Polar Capital Technology Trust
Polar Capital Technology Trust is listed on the London Stock exchange and is managed by Polar Capital. Polar Capital is a specialist investment manager that prides itself on having a flexible, entrepreneurial culture, where employees with talent flourish and staff own a significant proportion of the company’s equity. It is made up of 11 autonomous investment teams that predominantly manage sector specific funds and in total has funds under management of £12 billion.
The technology team have a rather broad interpretation of technology and as a result the portfolio can be invested in areas as diverse as information, media, communications, environmental, healthcare and renewable energy, as well as the more obvious applications such as computing and associated industries.
The management team utilises a thematic approach in the management of the Trust. More specifically, they attempt to spot developing technology trends early by looking out for changes in real world behaviour, and then seeking out companies that are best placed to exploit the new trend.
One of the latest themes is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; they argue that after years in the wilderness it is becoming increasingly clear that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are emerging as the next great technology platforms.
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Platinum International Fund
Platinum was founded in 1994 by Kerr Neilson as an Australian based specialist international equities investment boutique. When Kerr set up Platinum a number of key members from his previous team at Bankers Trust also left to join the new organisation.
The Platinum International Fund's investment objective is to provide capital growth over the long-term through searching out undervalued companies around the world. The Fund primarily invests in listed securities but has the ability to invest in unlisted companies as well. It typically holds 70 to 140 securities and has the ability to hold cash when undervalued securities cannot be found. Platinum may short sell securities that it considers overvalued.
Platinum starts with a clean sheet of paper and utilises a bottom up approach to build portfolios. Its investment style is best described as contrarian, they argue that great businesses do not always make great investments, because their share prices can be too high. Instead Platinum looks for companies that are currently out of favour, as unpopular industries/geographies with obvious problems can often be a rich source of investment opportunities. They note that the market is not silly, there usually are real issues, but the key is understanding whether this is an opportunity or a threat.
When assessing the merits of an investment, analysts first build a detailed understanding of the business, understanding what really makes it tick. Once an analyst has developed this understanding and determined that this is an attractive opportunity, they then put it forward to the team for peer review. When the team meets to discuss a potential investment, the purpose is not necessarily to seek consensus, but critical appraisal of the analyst’s logic.
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Jupiter European Opportunities Trust Plc
Jupiter European Opportunities Trust is a London Stock exchange listed investment company. The management company, Jupiter Asset Management, was founded in 1985 as a specialist boutique, and has become one of the UK’s most respected and successful fund management groups.
Alexander Darwall’s oversight of this trust predates the change in legal structure in 2000. Over time Darwall has built a remarkable performance track record. For instance, since the change in legal structure, the Trust has only underperformed its benchmark in two calendar years (2008 and 2016*) In our view, the approach used to put together the Trust’s portfolio suggests that Darwall and his team will be able to continue to generate attractive returns.
The Trust’s portfolio is made up of 35-45 companies that Darwall expects to be ‘winners’ through the cycle. More specifically, companies need to have two key qualities to make it into the portfolio. First, Darwall argues that it is not possible to foresee all the twists and turns in the macro economic environment and so he seeks out companies that perform well regardless of the phase in the economic cycle. Second, companies that have significantly superior or differentiated products and, as a result, can generate high growth rates and strong margins over extended periods of time.
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*Source: Trust Intelligence