Another year is about to end. I've enjoyed interviewing managers from all over the country and beyond, some were based in Asia, across Europe, or just travelling around - and it was not always easy to arrange phone calls!
But it has been an incredible window on the world of investment - a great way to find out more about the funds they manage, their best but also worst investments (because there is no shame in being wrong sometimes) - and also into their private lives.
We found out their favourite songs, their hobbies and passions, and what they might do if they weren't a fund manager. Some they even let us in inside their home, divulging some private Christmas family traditions and dream dinner party guests.
So, in case you missed any, we've rounded up some of the best quotes of the year:
What’s the stock (or bond) you didn’t buy that you wish you had?
Thomas Brown, manager of the Miton European Opportunities fund, says:
I wish I bought Nike (NKE) shares when I first fell in love with their shoes, when the Airmax was first released in 1987. I was 10 years old. I’ve always been obsessed with trainers but I should have bought shares, instead of staring at shoes through shop windows.
Lucy Isles, manager of the Gifford High Yield Bond fund, says:
I went undercover to a Herbalife event – the dietary supplement company - where they explained how to become a distributor and it gave me conviction in the company. I wanted to invest in a bond the firm issued in 2015 but couldn’t convince the team (I was an analyst at the time).
Peter Michaelis, manager of the Liontrust Sustainable Future fund, says:
Tesla (TSLA). In 2012 its shares were less than $1 – today they are $256. If we could have foreseen how successful the company would be, that would have been fantastic. The company makes an impact in one of the biggest environmental problems there is – transport – and in a way that delivers excellent returns.
Which stock are you currently excited about in the portfolio?
James Thomson, manager of the Rathbone Global Opportunities fund, says:
Match Group (MTCH). This is the online dating group that owns sites such as Match.com, OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, but the real beauty in its stable is Tinder. People used to snicker about online dating but that’s over and these days it’s quite mainstream. Ten years ago around 3% in relationships met online – now it’s a third. These companies can really help you meeting the love of your life!
So why invest in this strategy?
Wesley Lebeau, manager of the CPR Invest Global Disruptive Opportunities fund, says:
Because it’s clear the world is changing. In healthcare and education, for example, major shifts are reshaping people's lifestyles, consumer behaviours and redefining how we work and communicate. As with any transformation in history, this leads to a change in businesses and that provides investment opportunities. Companies that can solve the problems of today and tomorrow have significant growth potential for the long-term.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
Sajiv Vaid, manager of the Fidelity MoneyBuilder Income fund, says:
That you are never an expert – you might have experience, but that’s different. It’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen in the market; it has the good habit of teaching you a lesson, so be humble when things go right because just around the corner something will go wrong.
And if you weren’t a fund manager…
Olivier Marciot, manager of the Uni-Global Cross Asset Navigator, says:
I would be a photographer. I am not sure I would be courageous enough to do it for the long term, but I would like to cover wars.
Richard Bullas, manager of the Franklin UK Smaller Companies fund, says:
My childhood dream was to be a pilot. I have a big passion for aviation and for a long time during my teen years I wanted to be one. I tried to get onto a pilot training scheme but unfortunately I didn’t get through. If I had my time back again I would push very hard to be a pilot and travel the world.
Jon Hudson, manager of the Premier UK Growth fund, says:
I’ve always been fascinated by markets – I like the concept of buying something cheaper and selling it for more. My parents used to say I was like Del Boy from “Only Fools and Horses” because when I was young I would try to sell toys to my sister.
What do you do in your spare time?
Tim Crockford, manager of the Hermes Europe ex UK Equity fund, says:
I used to have hobbies until I had a baby girl 15 months ago; now my spare time is not very spare anymore. Her favourite animal is a monkey, but she can’t pronounce the letter “K”, so she randomly talks about money. So my spare time is mostly spent making sure she doesn’t go around shouting about money all the time.
Claudia Calich, manager of the M&G Emerging Markets Bond fund, says:
I take care of my garden and my allotment. It offers a nice change of pace from the day job and the satisfaction of eating your own produce cannot be beaten.
What would you change about the industry?
Chris Holmes, manager of JLEN Environmental Asset Group, says:
I would like to see more transparency, to see how firms are contributing to important matters such as ESG. We do a lot in this area, for example, producing independent reports and I would like to see others do the same – more transparency would help investors to make the best decisions.
And what’s the best thing about the industry?
Charlotte Yonge, manager of the Troy Trojan Ethical Fund, says:
There is never ever a dull moment and you are kept humble by market events – factors keep changing, but then it’s up to you to embrace new industries, shaping companies and the investment world as a whole.
Who is the last person who has influenced your daily job?
Jamie Jenkins, manager of the BMO Responsible Global Equity fund, says:
My family. They keep me grounded, remind me that I should always apply a healthy dose of common sense in my daily work and not get carried away with the intensity of the job - to keep my feet on the ground to make good long-term decisions.
Do you have a particular Christmas tradition?
Alasdair McKinnon, manager of Scottish Investment Trust (SCIN), says:
The night before Christmas the kids are very excited, so we invented "the tradition of the Christmas Fairy”, who leaves a little present in the tree. It's a bit like my investment approach: I try to keep the expectations managed, and the kids from getting too excited so my wife and I can go to bed.
Jon Foster, manager of Impax Environmetal Markets (IEM), says:
The tree is up. My wife is half-French so we are heading over to France to have an enormous family get together. This involves five days of not leaving the house - eating, drinking and discussing at the end of a meal what we’re going to eat at the next meal.