Schroders recalls the 'good old days'

2 May 2017

Utter the word “Schroders” at Money Management, and the staff immediately thinks of it as the investment manager that won ‘Overall Fund Manager of the Year’ four years in a row at the publication’s Fund Manager of the Year awards.

The firm picked up that trophy and title from 2009 to 2012, a feat unparalleled by any other firm since the awards commenced in 1987.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Australian funds management industry staple Fund Manager of the Year awards, Money Management caught up with Schroders chief executive, Greg Cooper, who began reminiscing about the golden years.

“The good old days!” he said.

“You saw such a sharp change in the environment pre-2007. There was just a massive risk-on environment: asset markets had become significantly overvalued. Our approach there, doesn’t matter which strategy you’re looking at, whether it’s Aussie equities or fixed income multi-asset all tend to emphasise forward-looking returns valuations.”

When those markets became over-valued, Schroders filtered its process, which tilted it away from those sorts of investments. Consequently in the subsequent years during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), a lot of those excesses unwound quite sharply, which resulted in positive performance, Cooper said.

In 2012, Cooper told Money Management the firm applied a benchmark unaware, long-term view. In Australian equities the firm focused on quality growth companies. In fixed interest the firm had a top-down macro view of the investment world.

It is safe to assert that this remains the company’s philosophy currently as Cooper recently told Money Management the firm’s philosophy had not changed in 20 years.

“I mean if I took something like Australian equities it’s got more of a quality growth bias to it but then we would also say style in something as narrow as Australian equities is a little bit meaningless,” Cooper said.

“The companies tend to change their style frankly relatively frequently as the mining boom was strong people regard mining companies as growth companies and then they come off again and now they’re value companies.”

One notable change, however, was in the way the firm has adapted to digital technology so that analysts used data gathered by technology to aid them in their analysis.

“The data can actually be a bit more quantifiable but your analyst then spends more of their time interpreting data rather than trying to build out some of the numbers because accessing the numbers is probably a bit easier nowadays as technology has advanced,” Cooper said.

With Cooper coming back to the awards ceremony to sit at the Legends Table this year, he said he looked forward to seeing familiar faces in the industry who have attended the event repeatedly.

“I think that points to the strength of the Australian funds management industry more generally, given the size of the population by definition and the talent pool. I think Australia bats well above its weight in terms of high quality investors relative to global [counterparts]. That to me is probably the one big standout.”

Secure your tickets now to the 30th celebration of the Fund Manager of the Year Awards.

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Event Information 
Date: Thursday 25 May 2017 
Location: Sofitel Sydney Wentworth 
Time: 6:30pm – 11:30pm 
Dress Code: Black Tie

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