Story – the Stamford way
Stamford has provided clients with insightful and successful investment solutions for over 30 years. During this time we have applied and developed a unique approach to manager identification, assessment and portfolio construction. We follow a proprietary evidence-based manager evaluation and manager /portfolio monitoring process. Stamford’s forward-looking approach focuses on the quality of the investment professionals and arrives at a holistic view of the manager and the espoused process, including how they make decisions. Our long experience stands us in good stead to cope with future challenges and avoid performance chasing propositions.
Stamford’s rigorously applied investment discipline has enabled clients to achieve their investment objectives and guided them successfully through many volatile equity and bond market cycles.
Philosophy – what we believe in
At Stamford we believe that the quality of investment professionals and their decisions will determine outcomes. We also believe that truly talented active managers can outperform market indices, if they make investment decisions based on fundamental business analysis. However managers of such high calibre are few and far between, which is why we developed an in depth assessment process that is truly global and, indeed, extending beyond the standard manager universe.
We believe that individuals, not institutions, make investment decisions. Therefore as part of our research and monitoring process we also focus on their behaviours and biases associated with the decision making process.
We believe that our investment advice must be supported by evidence to be fit for purpose.
We believe an integral ingredient of successful investing is mitigating permanent impairment of capital and pay particular attention to how managers deal with those challenges.
We believe in long term investment strategies with low portfolio turnover.
At Stamford, we are proud of our distinctive approach to identifying, researching and monitoring exceptional investment talent and their portfolios. We leave no stone unturned in the search for investment managers we believe will generate superior investment returns over time.
Over 30 years we have built up an extensive proprietary information base of thousands of managers. Our desk research and industry networking approach allows us to discover managers that might otherwise be below the radar. We offer manager selection on a truly global basis, going far beyond locally available or mainstream investment offerings.
Following this ‘talent discovery’ phase, we apply our own rigorous and deep evidence-based manager assessment process in order to evaluate the robustness of the managers' investment approach and the integrity of its application in practice. This includes a thorough analysis of the managers' portfolio footprints, from idea generation to sell discipline and portfolio construction, and invariably requires many face to face meetings with the key investment professionals. Our aim is to ensure an embedded understanding of the decision making dynamics and a holistic view of each manager.
We place equal importance on monitoring investment managers and their portfolios. Our monitoring team requires a high level of access to managers, including far reaching disclosure and portfolio transparency. This is key for our ongoing assessment of each manager and our detailed scrutiny of portfolios, including trading activity, fundamental and liquidity characteristics. When deemed appropriate, we do not hesitate to recommend manager changes irrespective of investment results.
Complementary to our investment assessment, an integral part of our manager selection and ongoing monitoring involves an in-depth qualitative evaluation from a psychological, organisational and behavioural perspective, which is led by our full-time in-house Chartered Psychologist. We believe this yields materially deeper insights and acumen than could otherwise be gained.
Global Research Capabilities
What is it?
Pension fund trustees have typically sought advice from investment consultants on a range of issues including investment strategy, portfolio structure (e.g. active vs. passive) and manager selection. Under this “advisory” approach, the consultant has no authority to take discretionary actions on the client’s behalf. However, over recent years a different business model has gained traction whereby trustees appoint a fiduciary manager who not only provides advice but also takes responsibility for making certain delegated investment decisions within an agreed framework. The balance between the level of advice and degree of delegation is one of a number of ways in which fiduciary managers differentiate themselves.
Is it right for you?
The starting point should be an assessment of how well your current investment governance arrangements as well as investment efficacy are working under the existing advisory framework. Consideration must be given to what could be accomplished within an advisory framework to enhance those arrangements and at what cost. The outcome of this assessment would represent a template governance and operating structure for trustees to benchmark against a proposed investment and governance solution under a fiduciary management mandate. Would fiduciary management further enhance the overall efficacy of the investment process?
We use the term “Fiduciary Management Advisory” to describe our investment solution as it:
- Retains the advisory components which, in our experience, trustees value;
- Creates a framework that allows trustees to delegate portfolio structure decisions, manager selection, transitions and a range of operational issues that can be challenging to resolve and clog up agendas; and
- Outsources trustees’ oversight on Stamford’s manager selection and portfolio construction recommendations to an external independent investment committee, made up of senior industry practitioners with significant asset management, legal and operational expertise.
The result is an investment and governance solution which we believe chooses the best from advisory and fiduciary, designed to keep trustees engaged with their investment portfolio whilst addressing the operational difficulties that can arise within an advisory structure.
Stamford have been working with pension fund trustees since 1992 and has recently further strengthened its resources and capabilities through the appointment of Carl Hitchman, one of the leading practitioners in the fiduciary space in the UK.
If you would like to find out more about our Fiduciary Management Advisory solution then please contact Carl Hitchman:
Phone: 020 7629 5225