Legg Mason Martin Currie Global Long Term Unconstrained Fund
Committed to find value-creating companies which consistently outperform (and are often undervalued by) the market.
Challenging traditional assumptions that returns of quality growth companies fade over time, identifying businesses which maintain returns beyond short-term forecast periods.
The strategy is available as an Ireland Domiciled Fund and Investment Trust for overseas investors only.
Philosophy and Process
To deliver long-term capital appreciation, the investment process is built around five key tenets: fundamental systematic research, proprietary data analytics, accounting expertise, stewardship leadership and, at the heart of the process, high-conviction, long-term investing.
Idea generation process seeks to identify companies with a combination of sustainable growth and quality.
Research and portfolio construction are both guided by three long-term mega trends – demographic change, the future of technology and resource scarcity.
Quality growth companies offering sustainable growth and resilience to economic uncertainty.
Long-term, high-conviction stable investing.
Minimises trading costs and maximises the effect of compounding high returns.
Meet the Team
The long-term unconstrained (LTU) team combines experience of portfolio management, specialist sector research and accountancy to identify long-term value creation. Each team member has specific sector research areas and share responsibility for stock research, idea generation and analysis.
Zehrid is head of the Global Long-Term Unconstrained team. Zehrid has responsibility for the overall Global Long-Term unconstrained strategies processes, and ultimate accountability for portfolio construction across all funds. He is the team’s roving analyst but also has research focus on the financials and healthcare sectors. He joined Martin Currie in May 2018 from BlackRock, where he held a number of senior roles. He was a senior portfolio manager and had responsibility for managing several pan-European equity funds with a specific focus on unconstrained, high-conviction, long-term portfolios, as well as being Head of European Equities Research.
Amanda is a portfolio manager on our Global Long-Term Unconstrained team. She has accountability for the team’s investment process and research responsibilities covering the Consumer sectors. Amanda joined Martin Currie as a senior consumer research analyst in 2008, having already gained 14 years’ experience in equities. She began her career as a Pan-European analyst and fund manager, with General Accident before moving to Threadneedle Investment Management where she was part of a team running Pan-European income funds. Amanda moved to the sell side, specialising in various consumer sectors – first at ABN AMRO, Lehman Brothers, and finally Teather & Greenwood.
Ken is a portfolio manager on our Global Long-Term Unconstrained team. Together with colleague Robbie McNab, Ken’s process accountability within the team is the oversight of research analysis. His own sector expertise is broad, covering the Industrials, Materials, Energy, Utilities sectors as well as Autos. He joined Martin Currie in 2004, initially researching and recommending stocks in the industrials sector. In 2010, he took over responsibility for materials and energy research, drawing on the sell-side experience he gained earlier in his career as a materials analyst at Credit Lyonnais Securities.
Yulia joined Martin Currie in March 2020 and is a portfolio manager on our Global Long-Term Unconstrained team. Yulia has team process accountability for thematics and her sector research coverage includes Technology, Media and Telecoms and Financials. Yulia joined Martin Currie from BlackRock, where she was a Director within the Fundamental Active Equities’ Global team, working, amongst others, on some of their unconstrained mandates.
Robbie McNab, CFA
Robbie is a Portfolio Manager on our Global Long-Term Unconstrained team. Along with colleague, Ken Hughes, Robbie has process accountability for the team’s research. His own research responsibilities cover Consumer Staples, Consumer Discretionary. Robbie was previously a Portfolio Manager on the North America team. Robbie joined Martin Currie in 2007 as a trainee, researching consumer and industrials companies. During his time at the company, he has also worked as a resources specialist on the Global Resources strategy and a global investment analyst, focusing on consumer companies.
Sam is a Portfolio Manager on Global Long-Term Unconstrained team. His process accountability is as co-head of Data Analytics. His sector responsibilities are focused on the Healthcare sector. Sam joined Martin Currie as an Associate Investment Analyst in October 2014 as part of the graduate programme. Initially he worked as an analyst in the materials and energy sectors, before moving to the Long-Term Unconstrained team with a focus on healthcare stocks. In June 2020, Sam was appointed Portfolio Manager. He is a CFA® charterholder.
Risk Management is Embedded at Every Stage of the Investment Process
Stock-focused risk management
The managers want the primary driver of returns to be the strength of the underlying business models they invest in. Firms with a high and sustainable return on invested capital (ROIC) should provide the investor with attractive risk-adjusted returns.
The managers ensure there are no unintended tilts towards country, sector or specific macro factor by using a correlation heatmap, style skyline and analysing factor sensitivities.
Integrated investment risk
The investment risk team is fully integrated into the investment process to improve visibility and understanding of portfolio positioning and behaviour.
Investment risk governance is independent of both the LTU and investment risk teams, ensuring client assets are managed with an appropriate level of risk to meet regulatory, client and internal expectations.
Internal risk framework
To ensure products are run in line with objectives, risk appetite, and in accordance with the stated investment process. The framework includes limits on exposures, risk metrics, and liquidity.
Comprehensive risk reports and toolkits
The two investment-risk teams work together to ensure that appropriate investment risk frameworks are in place and that comprehensive reporting and analytics are available to help understand all relevant aspects of risk within the LTU portfolios.
Commitment to ESG
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) analysis is deep-rooted into the investment process, forming an integral part of the assessment of risks and opportunities, alongside traditional financial considerations.
ESG factors assessed where material and relevant include:
Governance factors such as board leadership, diversity & independence, management renumeration, shareholder rights, succession planning and accounting & audit standards.
Environmental factors such as pollution, water usage, climate change, energy efficiency and resource management. Knowing how a company identifies and manages potential environmental issues provides transparency into how it is preparing for changes to regulation and disclosure requirements.
Social factors such as data protection & privacy, equality & diversity, community relations, human capital management, product safety & liability, supply-chain management and human rights. How a company treats employees, customers and other stakeholders, can give valuable insight into its culture.
Company engagement is integral to the process. This is informed by proprietary research and ESG reviews, overseen by Martin Currie’s Head of Stewardship and ESG.
Global Growth Rebound in 2021
The IMF’s latest forecast for global GDP growth of 5.8% in 2021 will depend on the effectiveness of government economic stimulus packages.
Through the ESG Lens
Emerging markets have made great strides when it comes to ESG over the years, and there is now a constellation of companies which can go head to head with their developed-market peers.
1. an update on our market thoughts - focusing on earnings season we have been going through and update on earnings risks we foresee
2. an update on our portfolios - specifically how we deliver conviction exposures
As a reminder, we manage high conviction best ideas portfolios focusing on long term sustainable quality growth stocks, which have low disruption risk, high barriers to entry, strong pricing power, attractive growth and returns profiles, good ESG profile and attractive valuations. We offer our investors Global, European, International and US versions of our Long-Term Unconstrained funds, as well as Global Portfolio Trust being one of our Global offerings.
Starting with an update on our thoughts on the market: and to reiterate again, these market comments are aimed to give our listeners food for thought. We are long-term investors, we manage assets with a long horizon perspective, and therefore some of the market thoughts do not impact our long-term thinking.
There are a few things worth highlighting about the markets at the moment:
Unemployment rates are sky-rocketing, and labour market has deteriorated significantly and very rapidly we need to therefore watch the potential negative feedback loop on the economic activity of such deterioration, if we don’t get back to previous levels of employment once economies come out of lock-down fully
That risk is significant in our view, given that the shape of both the supply and demand is unlikely to come back to normal post lock-downs as a result of enforced social distancing.
Economic leading indicators are likely to rebound over the next 1-3 months in our view.
It is somewhat mechanical, given how sharp a deterioration we have seen as lockdowns got implemented across the globe and given the fact that the survey is assessing improvement/deterioration compared to the previously carried survey.
It might have the potential of sending the market into hope or euphoria about a rapid recovery in economic activity coming up.
But that recovery could be more muted than what the PMI headline figures might imply.
Shape of recovery will still be an important talking point for the months and year to come, so we will need to remain vigilant as the situation evolves, and continue to reassess our core assumptions.
As a reminder, we have a core top-down assumption of a recovery that is likely to be gradual, without going back to previous levels of activity until 2022.
Worth moving onto the results season we have been going through. It has been a very busy results season given the significant recessionary environment we are going through as a result of the pandemic crisis. It has certainly been the busiest results season in my close to 23 years of experience of financial markets.
Earnings downgrades have been significant since the start of the year, as we flagged in our last podcast - to the tune of 25%+ downgrades with earnings declines now standing at >20% year on year for the US and Europe, and close to -20% for MSCI World
Earnings seasons have shown confirmation of the magnitude of slow down, and we are forecasting Q2 to show an even more severe slow down.
Earnings surprises for Q1 have been negative, despite the sizeably reduced estimates ahead of reporting, with a 1% negative surprise in the US and a 3% negative surprise in Europe
We continue to see our core scenario for 2020 as accurate based on what we have seen from this results season.
Our core assumptions, which we detailed in the last podcast, are implying a year-on-year earnings decline of circa 33% globally in 2020, so we are still expecting more earnings downgrades to come
The market reaction to the earnings has clearly been positive, with a shift from the fear we saw in March, to a willingness to look through to recovery rather than to the current profit warnings and downgrades that we are going through.
Shifting to our portfolios and moving to the second section of our podcast, to discuss how we deliver high conviction funds. As a reminder, we manage high conviction best ideas portfolios focusing on long-term sustainable quality growth stocks, which have low disruption risk, high barriers to entry, strong pricing power, attractive growth and returns profiles, good ESG profile and attractive valuations. We offer our investors Global, European, International and US versions of our Long-Term Unconstrained funds, as well as Global Portfolio Trust being one of our global offerings.
Our portfolios focus on best ideas, delivered in a high conviction way. We estimate conviction levels on any stock we hold through our proprietary analytical framework and ensure that all of our holdings express our strong convictions on business model, competitive positioning, structural growth outlook, returns profile and potential for further improvements. And we make sure we rapidly act and attend urgently to stocks where our conviction is weakening, in order to understand the reasons for that, and assess how we can rebuild conviction. If at the end of that process, we cannot rebuild conviction in a name we take action and exit. And we recycle that exposure into our high conviction names, which we size properly to capture the alpha we expect from such convictions.
As I always say: in a high-conviction portfolio, there is no room for low conviction.
Also, focusing on delivering solely high-conviction stocks to our investors means that we have to make tough choices: when a new stock comes through our fundamental research work and is high conviction, we take the approach that in order to buy it, we need to make a decision on which stock to exit and replace it with. As all our stocks are typically high conviction, it makes for a tough choice at times. We generally assess upside to price target, conviction levels, risk profiles and impact any of these stocks have on the overall portfolio risk exposures and shape. It ensures that we stay disciplined and only buy new stocks based on a high threshold of selection criteria.
We also typically end up with a list of stocks that are away from the large blue-chip mega-cap companies, which makes our funds somewhat differentiated in terms of holdings list.
In the next podcast, we will focus on the topics of market valuations, which we didn’t get the chance to discuss given the importance of tackling the earnings season in this podcast. We will also zoom in on our proprietary ESG risk assessments as part of our investment process.
We would like to finish this podcast with what has become a customary quote from us to capture the mood of the markets and of the podcast we have recorded: “Believing in an investment opportunity comes from having conviction about the investment case”
It’s Zehrid Osmani, Head of Global, US and European Long-Term Unconstrained, and manager of Global Portfolio Trust at Martin Currie.
Wishing our listeners a good day.
Stay safe, keep the spirits up and stay optimistic.
Investment in company shares: The fund invests in shares of companies, and the value of these shares can be negatively affected by changes in the company, its industry or the economy in which it operates.
Geographical focus: This fund invests primarily in Europe, which means that it is more sensitive to local economic, market, political or regulatory events in Europe, and will be more affected by these events than other funds that invest in a broader range of regions.
Concentrated fund: The fund invests in fewer companies than other funds which invest in shares usually do. This means that the fund does not spread its risk as widely as other funds and will therefore be affected more if an individual company has significant losses.
Fund currency: Changes in exchange rates between the currencies of investments held by the fund and the fund's base currency may negatively affect the value of an investment and any income received from it.
Derivatives: The use of derivatives can result in greater fluctuations of the fund's value and may cause the fund to lose as much as or more than the amount invested.
Fund operations: The fund is subject to the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people or systems or those of third parties such as those responsible for the custody of its assets.
For further explanation on the risks associated with an investment in the fund, please refer to the section entitled "Risk Factors" in the prospectus.
This is a sub-fund of Legg Mason Global Funds plc (‘LMGF plc’). LMGF is an open-ended investment company with variable capital, organised as an undertaking for collective investment in transferable securities (‘UCITS’). LMGF is authorised in Ireland by the Central Bank of Ireland.
Information has been prepared from sources believed reliable. It is not guaranteed in any way by any Legg Mason, Inc. company or affiliate (together ‘Legg Mason’).
Before investing you should read the application form Prospectus and KIID. The fund documents may be obtained free of charge in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish from LMGF plc’s registered office at Riverside Two, Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2, Ireland, from LMGF plc’s administrator, BNY Mellon Fund Services (Ireland) Limited, or from www.leggmasonglobal.com.
Information provided herein is current to the date of this communication and subject to change. Individual securities are examples only and are not recommendations to buy or sell an investment. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and do not consider the needs of investors.
In Europe (excluding UK & Switzerland) this financial promotion is issued by Legg Mason Investments (Ireland) Limited, registered office 6th Floor, Building Three, Number One Ballsbridge, 126 Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, D04 EP27, Ireland. Registered in Ireland, Company No. 271887. Authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. In the UK this financial promotion is issued by Legg Mason Investments (Europe) Limited, registered office 201 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3AB. Registered in England and Wales, Company No. 1732037. Authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. In Switzerland, this financial promotion is issued by Legg Mason Investments (Switzerland) GmbH, authorised by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA.
Investors in Switzerland: The representative in Switzerland is FIRST INDEPENDENT FUND SERVICES LTD., Klausstrasse 33, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland and the paying agent in Switzerland is NPB Neue Privat Bank AG, Limmatquai 1, 8024 Zurich, Switzerland. Copies of the Articles of Association, the Prospectus, the Key Investor Information Documents and the annual and semi-annual reports of the Company may be obtained free of charge from the representative in Switzerland. German investors: The prospectus, Key Investor Information Document, annual report and semi-annual report are available free of charge from the German Information agent [Legg Mason Investments (Europe) Limited, Zweigniederlassung Frankfurt am Main, MesseTurm, 21. Etage, Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 49, 60308 Frankfurt a.M., Germany] or from www.leggmasonglobal.com.
The representative paying agent in France, through which the KIIDs, Prospectus, semi-annual and annual reports can be obtained free of charge is CACEIS Bank, 1/3, Place Valhubert, 75013 Paris, France.
This information is only for use by professional clients. It is not aimed at retail clients. Not for onward distribution. April 2020 D20042