Our investment approach is shaped by six core beliefs. By following these principles we aim to maximise clients' portfolio returns while minimising their investment risk:
- Value - we prefer low valuations. We invest where the price does not reflect fair value.
- Size - smaller companies (on average) offer greater growth potential.
- Fundamental - analysis is needed to appraise the quality of earnings and estimate fair value.
- Independent - we ignore market noise and current fashions. We diverge significantly from the index.
- Patient - we wait for the right investment opportunities before investing.
- Long term - frequent trading increases costs and is not the same as good investing.
We work with you to determine an appropriate strategic asset mix for your portfolio. We do this by taking into account such things as your timescale for investment and any income requirements. Most of our UK-based clients have a large core holding in UK equities, which although a volatile asset class gives protection from inflation and exposure to economic growth. We also invest in overseas equities and bonds where appropriate. Over time we will tilt the actual asset allocation to take advantage of investment opportunities as they arise.
We like our portfolios to reflect the conviction behind our best investment ideas. Hence within UK equities we concentrate the holdings on between 30 and 40 stocks. Around 50% will be invested in small and mid cap stocks and 50% in FTSE 100 stocks. Our portfolios tend to have a higher than average yield compared to the overall index. Individual sector weightings reflect our stock selection process. However we do tilt sector positions in accordance with our macroeconomic views. Each portfolio is regularly reviewed by the investment team.
We focus on evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each company's business model. Of key importance to our analysis is ascertaining the sustainability of operating margins and the drivers to sales growth. In addition we pay attention to each company's cashflow, balance sheet and potential risks. Based on our research we use a range of valuation tools, including both accounting multiples and discounted cash flow, to estimate fair value for each stock. Our best investment ideas are those with the most upside to fair value.
We scrutinise risk closely. At the stock level, we look for flaws in each company's business model and avoid investing where we find significant potential weaknesses. At the portfolio level, we aim for prudent long term growth in capital whilst avoiding over concentration on particular industries or types of company. Our portfolios are more diversified than the overall market since we do not normally invest more than 10% in any one sector. To further control portfolio risk we also limit initial individual stock holdings to a maximum of 5% (3% in a mid/small cap company) of the portfolio.