Celebrating IFA Magazine’s ten year anniversary, David Lewis, co-head of strategy in the Jupiter Independent Funds team reflects on some of the key changes he has witnessed since joining the Jupiter team in 2011.
The last ten years has been a time of significant change in a number of ways, both from an investment perspective and for us in the Jupiter Independent Funds Team. I joined the team with Amanda Sillars just over ten years ago and we have progressed with the recent promotions of me to Co-Head the team with John Chatfeild-Roberts and Amanda taking on a new role as ESG Director alongside her Fund Manager duties. The latter promotion chimes with one of the major market changes which has taken place over the period, that of the continuing focus on Stewardship, ESG and the ever brighter light which is being shone on Climate Change and Biodiversity, with a focus on what the investment world can do to help address these negative trends.
Collaborate to drive change
We believe that the best way to ensure strong stewardship, is to invest with active managers who form long term views and take their roles as custodians of others capital seriously, engaging with their investee firms and voting on resolutions to ensure that the interests of their underlying unit holders are upheld. Many in the investment world take an exclusionary approach to companies which, for whatever reason, sit on the wrong side of the dividing line which they set on ESG, whereas we continue to believe that taking a more open-minded approach is more appropriate and can also lead to the better outcomes. This allows our managers to engage with companies to encourage them to improve their practices and ensure that all of the various stakeholders involved, including the environment, are considered and the best solutions reached. We feel that this is the best way to gain societal positives, while also potentially reaping the rewards as companies improve their ESG credentials and become more investable to those taking a more constrained view.
The power of technology
The other significant change which has taken place has been the boom in innovation and the disruption of many of traditional sectors and business models. Investing in technology to stay relevant in this modern, digital world has become a greater and greater cost of doing business for companies around the globe. We feel that this trend is unlikely to abate. The viral epidemic has set in train changes which would have taken many years to gain the traction they now have and although life will go back to something similar to what it was before, the pace of progress and disruption is unlikely to subside.