Tell us about your role and responsibility?
I am the Lead Fund Manager of the Cheviot Climate Assets Fund, the winner of the ‘Best New Entrant’ at the Climate Change Awards 2010. I am responsible for performance, marketing and reporting. I also co-manage segregated client portfolios based in this strategy.
The Fund seeks to achieve long term capital appreciation and provide income through multi-asset allocation and multi-thematic investment. It invests around the world with a focus on five investment themes – low carbon energy, food, health, resources and water. Therefore I'm also responsible for keeping everyone at Cheviot abreast on developments in this area.
How did you first get involved in green investing?
I have a degree in Chemical Engineering and was previously involved in process improvements, health and safety and the environment within a leading industrial gases company. I came to the UK to study a Master in Business Administration to add financial knowledge to my industrial expertise. I decided to stay in the UK and I worked for a specialist research provider to the environmental/ethical funds. I moved into fund management with the SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) team at Henderson and joined Cheviot in 2009.
Cheviot Asset Management is one of the first investment managers to offer a multi-asset approach for sustainability investment. We are very proud of our product innovation. It has been a great marriage of my stock picking skills with Cheviot’s assets allocation expertise.
Where is the most interesting place your work has taken you to and why?
I normally travel to meet companies or participate in investment conferences and seminars. Over the years I have been on business in many places, including Spain, France, Germany and the US.
What does your typical day look like?
I am an early bird so I’m usually in the office for 7am. Avoiding the morning rush hour allows me to catch up with news and emails comfortably. The day flies by quickly monitoring stock market news, reviewing portfolios, meeting companies that we invest in and seeing clients. Talking to colleagues and discussing investment strategies is also a very important part of the day for us at Cheviot.
What do you think the future of this market will be and what will be the important new developments?
Stock markets had a disappointing 2011, reflecting a much tougher than expected economic environment. However, the outlook in 2012 is a little brighter for key economies like the US, showing signs of improvement in both manufacturing activity and employment. In addition, many corporate balance sheets are healthy and can support progressive rises in dividends. Overall, after last year’s declines, we believe equities look attractive and should enjoy a better performance in the coming year.
In particular there is no doubt that sustainable investing is a growing investment theme and we see more and more interest in the space as investors understand the significant amount of government and private sector investment that is going into these markets, particularly in the area of energy efficiency and consumption with smart metering and insulation for example.
What would you say to someone who was nervous about investing in this area?
Addressing climate change, population growth and availability of resources provides a compelling investment opportunity for those that understand the changes taking place regarding government and private investment, consumer preference, food supply and demand imbalances and water shortages. How much exposure one should have to these investment themes will obviously depend on clients’ risk/reward profiles and their preference for income, or capital gains. We believe that a multi-asset and multi-theme strategy, like the Climate Assets Fund, offers a less volatile way of investing in this area.
What was the best investment call last year and what was the worst?
Best - reducing exposure to emerging markets, particularly China.
Worst- initiating a position in Philips Electronics too early, as recently it warned of a weaker than expected 4Q11.
How do you like to spend the weekends?
As a working mum with a young child, I love spending time with my family at the weekend. Saturdays are spent ferrying my son round to various sporting activities and visiting friends and family. Sunday mornings, my husband and I teach children’s liturgy at our local church and afternoons are often spent going for walks in the country. Also, I am a keen runner and I usually try to fit a long run over the weekend.