Robert understands the benefits of outsourcing investment research, particularly given the changing market conditions. That is why he set up Asset Intelligence in 2008; to deliver high quality independent research to advisers as part of well thought out advice processes. Robert has headed up Investment Departments for some of the leading IFAs and is an experienced IFA and investment specialist. When not studying asset allocation or portfolio distributions, Robert can be found catching up on South American football or urging on Leicester City.
What book should everybody read in their lifetime?
I’m interested in how we think, and Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast & Slow, explores our reasoning systems and how biases can have simple but dramatic influences on decision making. The concepts are simple, accessible and almost obvious once understood but can have a profound impact on our judgments. A book that makes sense, can help you make better and clearer decisions both personally and professionally.
Active or passive?
Both have a place in portfolios. What I find most absorbing is the decision-making process that underpins putting the right instruments in the right places in the overall portfolio construction context.
Looking at long-run data sets offers compelling support for a passive approach, however, significant and consistent outperformance from a number of key active funds has had a positive impact, with significant magnitude, on my experience of investment outcomes. It’s worth remembering that passive equity provides exposure to the most successful companies, whereas passive fixed interest provides indiscriminate exposure to the most indebted companies.
Who is your favourite fund manager?
I agree with any number of the straightforward tenets, Sir John Templeton, for example: buy low, invest for the long term, diversify, learn from mistakes and don’t be overconfident.
I strive to follow managers that can clearly articulate the edge that enables them to outperform and are supported by a strong process. I must understand in what circumstances their approach will underperform or outperform and why. I have a particular leaning towards those that are humble and honest enough to admit their limitations and mistakes and are always striving to adapt and improve.
What sector do you find the most interesting?
Emerging markets – an incredibly diverse, dynamic, multi-faceted and misunderstood region. Once an afterthought in portfolio allocations, emerging markets are undoubtedly the future and contribute more than half of global growth. Spending time studying emerging markets quickly gets to the heart of my passion for investing and economics – politics, culture, demographics, technology, innovation, potential, improvement in peoples lives – a broad and diverse range of fascinating and unlimited interconnected studies. Having spent time living in a developing economy I have an appreciation of issues on a local context from the ground up.