July is a busy month, the middle of the three summer months containing many sporting events as well as cultural gatherings. No Glastonbury this year but we’ve had the Pride parade in London promoting diversity which will be replicated in cities across the UK. The annual events that are Wimbledon and the British Grand Prix have taken place. The Open golf championship is next weekend.
In case you missed it, we’ve had the FIFA World Cup and a performance from England that restored the country’s pride in its football team and its three lions’ emblem. The collective noun for lions is of course, a pride. France won the tournament and were the best team. Croatia, England’s conquerors (the Belgium games were largely meaningless), played well and with spirit, pride as well as skill and had the tournament’s best player.
“I want to give England a team that they can be proud of” – Gareth Southgate 2016
The semi-final defeat was disappointing for England fans but with regard to the above wish from the manager – mission accomplished. For our Scottish and Welsh readers this is a note on the route to achieving and delivering a different culture not a pro-English update. It takes time to change a culture but worth the effort. The way the team played, conducted themselves and engaged with fans and the media was nothing short of a considered yet transformational cultural shift which served to re-connect ‘elite’ players with their audience. A lesson here for the investment industry providers perhaps who could improve their culture by:
- talking to people not at them
- delivering solutions over selling products
- rewarding investors before shareholders
Which one of the above would you like to carry your country’s hopes and reflect its culture? One the antithesis of the other. Of course Gareth isn’t the UK’s head of state but the visiting US President met ours – God Bless the Queen who no doubt was polite in the face of a man who prefers to talk at people and is frequently quoting untruths and voicing opinions which he should really keep to himself. But, Trump clearly likes to be in the public consciousness.
Culture and pride in what we do for our clients is of paramount importance at TBAM. There is no place for a Trump-style, “let’s work as a team and do it my way”. Everyone contributes, has a voice and buys into our culture which is the third slide in our standard presentation:
- Individual and collective responsibility to our clients
- Support, trust and commitment
- Though leadership, challenging conventional thinking
- Ensuring we achieve what our investors want and understand
It was therefore gratifying earlier this month for our Dynamic Fund to be ‘Highly Commended’ in the Managed Cautious category of the Fund Manager of the Year Awards 2018.
We believe this accolade is for delivering a meaningful solution for our investors by putting them first
July has been a quiet month to date for activity. Growth’s positioning remains unchanged and in Dynamic we have selectively increased some of our absolute return positions from cash which we have been happy to see rise from inflows. We retain our cautious stance, recognising that we are at the late stage of a long economic cycle and at a turn in the interest rate cycle in developed economies. As such and as thematic investors, we are maintaining our theme of avoiding leverage, whether it be company or country balance sheets, high or premium valuations. Preserving capital in real terms is more important than riding the ups and downs of financial markets in a difficult environment and being guilty of over-engineering.