Altius Asset Management’s Vanessa Thomson is a smart money manager and in Australia’s financial services industry she’s among a small, but growing group of women in senior ranks with some investment tips to share.
As head of credit research, which means she is responsible for investment calls in the fixed income space, Thomson has three key ingredients for successful investing, regardless of the asset you decide to invest in.
a. Process – have a structured and consistent approach to investment decisions
b. Considered decision-making drawing from a diverse, experienced team
c. Awareness of randomness and unpredictable events
“Although simple, all investors need to accept is that investments can go up and down but the better investor will make only occasional and modest losses. And along the same line, don’t take an investment risk unless it is justified by the potential return.”
In this article we ask her what investments she likes an why.
What are your top market picks right now?
In the current credit environment my preferred sectors are infrastructure and Australian real estate investment trusts.
My preferred listed issuers are Transurban and GPT. Transurban generates inflation-indexed toll revenue on an expanding network of metropolitan roads where traffic, both car and truck, continues to grow.
GPT is diversified across real estate sectors, conservatively managed and has a strong Balance Sheet.
GPT does not invest in residential property so will avoid any direct impacts from overheating of this segment whilst benefiting from capitalisation rate compression in both office and retail segments.
What investment strategy is likely to do better in the current market environment?
Among our capabilities, Altius manage using an absolute return strategy allocating to various classes of fixed income including cash, securitised debt and government, supranational and corporate bonds.
Our absolute return strategy aims to deliver a positive return in all market environments which is an attractive option in a world likely to experience future rises in interest rates.
What is the biggest influence over your investment style?
Appreciation of the role of qualitative analysis in company research. Interpretation of financials and metrics is only part of the story.
Examination of qualitative factors including management, governance structures and relationships with stakeholders provides meaningful insight and can be the point of difference.
Is there an investor or financial guru that inspires you and why?
I am inspired by Adrian Orr, CEO of New Zealand Super Fund. He gave the key note address at last years’ RIAA Conference in Sydney and described the New Zealand Super Fund’s competing but equal objectives of responsible investing and investment performance, believing the former informs the latter.
Mr Orr is a broad-minded investor who advocates a holistic approach to investing and actively seeks collective discussion amongst peers to affect meaningful influence in particular around climate change.
Society is increasingly concerned about the sustainability of their investments and I think Mr Orr appropriately prioritises these concerns.