Investing tips from leading women

Top money calls from the women working in Australia's financial markets. This week we speak to 4D Infrastructure's Sarah Shaw.

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Women are often said to be better investors then men, so how do some of the top money managers do it? We ask Sarah Shaw global portfolio manager and chief investment officer at 4D Infrastructure for her investing tips.

“Infrastructure is a great allocation for investors still nervous about investing in the markets. It is known as a defensive asset class with lower volatility of earnings and higher yields than broader equities. However, it offers this defensiveness with significant growth upside offering investors both a stable yield and upside.”

Your three top investment tips?

Believe in yourself and the team around you and have conviction in your ideas – this means truly understanding the fundamentals of the companies and countries you are investing in.

Use market dislocations to add to or reduce positions standing firm in your views and not chasing the market or ignoring your process – perfect example of this was adding to core positions during Brexit falls.

Don’t try to be everything to everyone – play to your strengths and expertise and leave the rest to others

Top stock picks and sectors

I run a listed infrastructure Fund so my sector calls are within the global infrastructure space – quite a narrow arena.

Put simply infrastructure provides the basic services essential for communities to function and for economies prosper. For us this equates to the publicly listed owners and operators of essential services such as your power, water and gas utilities and user pay assets being toll roads, airports, ports where a user pays for service. In the Australian market that would be Transurban, Sydney Airport, Infigen Energy.

Within this broad sector I am currently favouring the user pay assets over the utilities – this is driven by relative valuations but also by a view that we are in a global growth environment – a sluggish one but we are seeing growth and a growth environment favours user pay assets over utilities.

From a regional perspective, as a global investor I am favouring Europe and the Emerging markets over North America at the moment. This is again driven by relative valuations but also by positive thematics including the emergence of the middle class, as well as macro and sovereign recovery in places like Spain and Brazil.

What investment strategy is likely to do well right now?

I think in all markets you want active management whereby the portfolio manager can manage market dislocations to add return for investors.

I also believe in a strategy that is not linked to any index so that the Portfolio Manager can find the best opportunities within an asset class, not the relatively best.

What’s your biggest influence?

I am passionate about what I do and truly believe in the opportunities of the sector I specialise in – I endeavour to use this passion to generate the best possible returns for our investors.

At the back of my mind is always a quote from fashion icon CoCo Chanel who said “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud” and that’s what I encourage my team to do and what I try to do every day in managing the portfolio.

Who inspires you?

There are many great names in the industry with very successful strategies that I continue to learn from.

Naming one would be NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian who has managed to get much needed investment done (as both Transport Minister and Treasurer) while maintaining a balanced budget in a very male dominated world of politics. And she has done it with dignity and class.

However, to be honest my inspiration to be the best portfolio manager I can comes from closer circles within and outside the finance industry including family, friends and our investors who have entrusted me with their money.

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