How much longer do you want to carry on running Independent?
I've been doing this since we first started dating. I was really too cautious for several years after the crisis which is inevitable when you get beaten up as badly as that by markets.
Over the last few years I have been able to convince myself that quite a number of companies in the technology sector have clearly been attractive investments. But those two years in 2007 and 2008 were tough. Reveals a motivation to outlive his father, a former Gerrards stockbroker; Explains what happens to Independent when he is gone. GL: And you still have a decent slug of the fund. To change your settings please, Max Ward: I want to outlive my dear old Dad, Investment Trust Watch: Independent premium warning, Independent's Max Ward: I never imagined a year like this. MW: Well I would like to carry on running Independent for as long as I am fit to do so. GL: I see so leaving yourself open to money-making opportunities, you’ve got to be positive. GL: You’re obviously still clearly enjoying life and the job of a fund manager.
Gavin Lumsden: Hello with me today is Max Ward, managing director of the Independent investment trust which was winner of Citywire’s first UK All Companies Performance Award last month. GL: And just accept the fact that there are events like the financial crisis, that you might not be in the best position for them? Registration is free and only takes a minute. © 2020 citywire.co.uk. You like investing in the house builders and traditional sectors like that, but you’re not averse to investing in technology yourself.
Max Ward: I think the first lesson I’ve learned Gavin is that I’m no good at judging short-term market movements.
He died in full harness at the age of 70 so I certainly want to keep going for another couple of years and I’d like to go on years after that. GL: For a long time your main exposure to small technology companies would have been through the Herald investment trust. It can manipulate the information and it can send it to where it is required. MW: Well when we floated the Independent it was very much floated as a vehicle for me to manage other people’s money. You’re 68. So you’re a star fund manager, you’ve worked with star fund managers: what do you think about the role of the active fund manager? Investment trust statistics: © Morningstar 2020. You’ve been doing it a very long time, you’ve worked with great people at Baillie Gifford, you used to manage Scottish Mortgage Trust in the 90s; you’ve helped oversee both Neil Woodford and recently Mark Barnett on Edinburgh investment trust where you are a non-executive director; you’ve been investing for many, many years in Herald investment trust, a technology fund run by Katie Potts. Can you tell me? GL: I mentioned that you used to run Scottish Mortgage which is the biggest investment trust in the UK.
GL: But you’ve been adding to that with direct investments. MW: That’s something else I should have mentioned when you asked me about the lessons of being at Baillie Gifford.
Our portfolio could not have been more poorly positioned for what actually happened. The biggest mistake I made going into the crisis was not paying enough attention to balance sheets. I've been doing this since we first started dating. Thanks for watching! And at the time shareholders were told that in the event that I was no longer able or willing to run the fund, it would be given a decent burial. MW: Well, I don’t think you can protect the downside but what you can do – and I think the big lesson I’ve learned from the financial crisis – is to look far more closely at balance sheets. You said you’re good at running your winners? And when I started out with the Independent I was reasonably convinced that I would not invest in small technology stocks because I felt they would be too specialist for me to be able to devote enough time to them. From my perspective, and I’m not a great expert on robotic process automation which is what the field is called. Which makes it a more difficult company to assess. Citywire Investment Trust Awards: the winners! So we have run it pretty aggressively and it is today one our five biggest holdings. Very impressive. MW: I have. MW: We have slightly more shares in Blue Prism than we took our initial stake at around the time of the flotation. My wife is very jumpy. We both get a kick out of it..... Don't worry, She gets me back.