Investment Management Edition
Series 1 - Public Equities
The Small Cap Equity Investor
Q - Why did you agree to come on to our podcast?
A - "I think a lot of people when they think of investments, they think of it as being very male-dominated, or perhaps not appealing. So I want to really dispel any myths and encourage more young females to pursue this as a career choice."
Q - What do you think have been some of the key resources and tools that you've had to hand to help you on your journey and to where you are today?
A - "For me, there wasn't like one standout thing. I think it was just a series of events along the way. When I was in University, I signed up with SEO London, which is a charity that helps people from lower socio-economic backgrounds break into professional industries like investment banking, or asset management. And as part of that programme, I was assigned a mentor, and a buddy who were currently working in financial services. And then I would say other things were just things like doing internships along the way, and just meeting some really inspirational colleagues and people who, even though unofficial, because they were so knowledgeable, just passed on their kind of skill set and knowledge onto me."
Q - Would you say it's necessary to go to university to become a smaller companies equity investment director?
A - "Yeah, I would say it's necessary. So it just so happens on my team, all of us have gone to university. But I wouldn't say it's an absolute necessity or a guarantee of success. A lot of companies are trying to widen their recruitment practices. So looking at non-target universities, but also looking at non university backgrounds."
The US Equity Investor
Q - What do you like about your job?
A - "I think it's that it's very varied. I can't imagine getting bored in what I do. And I'm in my ninth year now and I'm still not bored with researching companies. I think that variety that it brings is really, really interesting to me. There's also a couple of other things. So the second thing is: we, as a team, invest in what we would call transformational growth. So we're looking for companies that can really potentially change the world. And it just means that you get to research things that are right at the cutting edge. Whether it be new types of medicines or new types of electric versus combustible cars, and you start researching them in such an early stage. You just learn so much, about so many things that you probably in life wouldn't cover. I think the other thing for me is: I love jigsaws. And I think that this job is quite like a metaphorical jigsaw."
Q - What key skills do you need to be a good equity investor?
A - "I'm not sure there's a tick list, I think some degree of analytical skill is required. But I think there has to be combined with creativity, because I think if you think about what I said earlier about what active investing is: it's about trying to beat a benchmark. I think you're only going to beat that benchmark, if you think differently. Because if you all analyse companies in exactly the same way, you're all going to arrive at the same conclusion, which means ultimately, you're not going to beat the benchmark. "
Q - What advice would you give to someone wanting to get to where you are today?
A - "I think you have to be willing to fail, and to learn from it. I hate the idea that somebody wouldn't apply for a job because they're worried about not getting it. I feel like if you're so fearful of failing at something that you don't even try, you just don't know what opportunities you're losing out of as a consequence."
The Sustainable Funds Equity Investor
Q - So what is meant by ESG? And what is meant by sustainable investing?
A - "ESG is an acronym that stands for environmental, social, and governance. Now ESG investing or basically taking environmental, social and governance factors into account when you're choosing what companies you're going to be investing in, is now common practice. Sustainable investing is a similar sort of thing. At Stewart Investors, we take a broad view to what sustainable investing means. So we're simply looking for companies that are well placed to benefit from and contribute to sustainable development."
Q - So could you just tell us what an average day at work looks like for you?
A - "I'd say that there's probably no two days that are even vaguely similar, every day is completely different. It's really amazing. So one day, we might be talking to a CEO of a personal care company in India, or we might be talking to the CEO of Unilever, the next day. So it's always talking to different people, finding out what's going on with them, learning about what's going on in the market, what's going on in their companies. It's just fascinating and travel is a big part of as well. Normally, we would be travelling to see the companies on their own sites to meet with the people face to face and really get to know them."
Q - What do you wish you'd known before you started your first job?
A - "I wish I had known not to stress so much about what I was going to end up being. I really worried about that and I wish I hadn't because the way that my career has panned out has been so random. It's been a case of taking opportunities as and when they came and working with those opportunities."