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Monday, November 26, 2012

Schroders Makes Its Case Across the Pond

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

Eager to demonstrate its investing chops to the financial press, Schroders Investment Management North America [profile] hosted a media event showcasing some of its notable investment talent.

The event, titled "Schroders New York Trip 2012," featured such executives as: Thomas See, head of structured fund management; Fred Schaefer, client PM, U.S. equities; Wesley Sparks, head of U.S. fixed income; and Joanna Shatney, head of U.S. large cap equities.

Schroders, which is the American transplant of the London-based parent Schroders plc, apparently preached to the choir. In a packed conference room in the firm's New York office, most of the journalists (roughly 20) present spoke some accented variation of the Queen's English.

One notable tidbit was Schraefer's explanation of Schroder's mid-cap strategy: "Steady eddies really tell what is going on within a company."

With this phrase, he summed up the approach of PM Jenny Jones for understanding a company's business model, scrutinizing financials and distinguishing diversified sources of alpha. Jones' strategy, he explained, tends to outperform in flat to modestly rising markets as well as negative markets. Cheap natural gas is also an excellent story for US companies.

Another good tidbit was Shatney's optimism about U.S. equities.

"It is a very exciting time to think about investing in equities," she told the room of journalists.

Points in her argument, include the extreme valuation gap in US companies creating compelling opportunities. Volatility has gone down. Many U.S. sectors enjoy major competitive advantages in terms of industry leaders and innovation as well as flexibility of their workforces. Continued population growth will provide benefits as other countries experience slowdowns. Also, company margins, she believes will continue to do better. Moreover, housing will bounce back somewhat over the next few years.

"People have forgotten the ripple effects of housing," she said. 

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