Banks to biotech
When partner Mark Urquhart joined Baillie Gifford more than a quarter of a century ago, high street banks and telecoms companies were among the firm’s largest holdings.
Then as now, we invested in growth stocks – well-run businesses chasing big opportunities. But the types of companies that come under that heading have changed. These days, disruptive biotech companies and digitally enabled businesses are more prominent in our portfolios.
Urquhart tells the stories behind some of his investments in a recent edition of our podcast Short Briefings on Long Term Thinking. He also explains why the pandemic strengthened his faith in entrepreneurship and reveals which companies he thinks will become future growth champions.
You can listen to the show and other conversations with our investment managers at bailliegifford.com/podcasts or via Spotify, Apple Podcasts and other platforms. Other recent episodes explore our Actual investing philosophy and the colourful 150-year history of The Scottish American Investment Company (SAINTS).
Scottish Mortgage matters
Shareholders have approved the appointment of Justin Dowley as Scottish Mortgage’s chair at the Trust’s recent annual general meeting. Dowley previously served as senior independent director. He is an ex-head of investment banking at Merrill Lynch Europe and has several years of experience on public and private company boards.
Joining Dowley and two existing fellow board members are three newly appointed non-executive directors:
- Stephanie K Leung, co-founder and chief executive of KareHero Group. She has spent almost 25 years in leadership roles in startups and tech-led businesses
- Sharon Flood, a seasoned non-executive director who has held senior roles at several public and private companies, including Getlink SE and the private equity firm Sun European Partners
- Vikram Kumaraswamy, who brings an additional international perspective. He is head of strategy and corporate development at Unilever, where he leads both portfolio development and mergers and acquisitions strategy and is also responsible for the group’s venture capital firm
You can find out more about the board via the About Us page at scottishmortgage.com
Switch at Shin Nippon
Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon, the investment trust that seeks out high-growth smaller Japanese companies, has a new chair. Jamie Skinner took over from Neil Donaldson at Shin Nippon’s annual general meeting in May. Skinner became a director of the Trust in 2018. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and, between 1999 and 2018, worked at Martin Currie Investment Management, latterly as head of client services.
The board of The Scottish American Investment Company (SAINTS) has appointed Ross Mathison as deputy manager of the Trust. Mathison, who joined Baillie Gifford in 2019, has 15 years of investment experience and previously worked for Aviva and Standard Life Investments. He is a trustee of Aberlour, a Scottish children’s charity. A new history of the Trust, SAINTS: the first 150 years, was published this year. A digital version is available at bailliegifford.com/SAINTS150th
What does Keystone Positive Change Investment Trust mean by ‘impact’? To get a sense of the difference being made by companies held by the Trust on some of the world’s toughest problems, consider the following: between them, water purification specialists Xylem and Ecolab have helped their customers save 1.3 trillion litres of water.
That’s about the amount that a population the size of the Netherlands would drink over a lifetime. Education companies Coursera, Duolingo and FDM have registered 178 million learners worldwide – equivalent to 80 per cent of all the students enrolled in universities and colleges around the world.
The figures come from the latest Keystone Positive Change Impact Report, a fascinating look at how the Trust’s companies are steering the world on to a more sustainable path. To find out more about how Keystone Positive Change lives up to its name, go to bailliegifford.com/keystoneimpact
Focus on feedback
A big thank you to all of our readers who took the time to respond to our recent Trust survey. At Baillie Gifford, we firmly believe that your interests come first, so it follows that we care deeply about what you think about our magazine.
Your feedback helps us tailor what we publish to what you’re keen to read about. The survey tells us that satisfaction levels among our print and digital readers are high and that reader loyalty is gratifyingly strong: most of those surveyed have been reading Trust for over a decade.
Interviews with trust managers top your list of interests, as well as reading about our larger trusts, especially Scottish Mortgage. Rest assured, we’ll keep improving the magazine and the website, and if you have any ideas or suggestions, drop the editor a line at [email protected]
Five years ago, Stuart Dunbar published his provocative paper, Let’s Talk About Actual Investing. It defined how we put your capital to use in our efforts to provide you with growth. It explained our long-term, actively engaged approach to backing fundamental investment ideas rather than speculating on asset price changes. And it explicitly rejected being predictably average in favour of seeking to be unpredictably outstanding. Dunbar revisits his thesis to mark the anniversary and explains why it still holds true despite concerns about higher interest rates and inflation. Find out what he has to say in the latest episode of our podcast Short Briefings on Long Term Thinking and an accompanying article.
SAINTS: 150 not out
In a gaslit office in Edinburgh’s Hill Street in March 1873, a local lawyer set out his vision for a new investment company. Inspired by his visits to the US, then entering its Gilded Age of expansion and wealth, William Menzies proposed the establishment of The Scottish American Investment Company Limited. From its earliest days, it’s been better known as SAINTS.
To mark the 150th anniversary of the income-focused investment trust, managed by Baillie Gifford since 2004, the SAINTS board has commissioned a new history. In it, financial historian John Newlands tells the story of the Trust’s progress through a century and a half of global booms and busts and seismic shifts in views on how best to deliver long-term growth for investors. SAINTS: the first 150 years will be published in hardback and digital form in late May. If you would like to order a copy in either format, please request it via this link bailliegifford.com/SAINTS150th
Small in Japan
What do hi-tech motorcycle helmets, robotic knitting machines and snazzy sportswear have in common? They’re all hit products made by the best of Japan’s small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Investors focused on the big names often overlook the category. But to Praveen Kumar, manager of Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon, great SMEs are “the beating heart of Japan’s economy”.
In Why small companies are big in Japan, episode 30 of Baillie Gifford’s investment podcast Short Briefings on Long Term Thinking, Kumar explores some of these under-the-radar firms and the niche markets they target.
Pointing out the importance of founders and entrepreneurs, Kumar explains the need to be picky, patient and willing to go beyond Tokyo to find companies capable of outsized returns.
You can hear more from him and the other managers of the 12 retail investment trusts we manage at bailliegifford.com/podcasts
Alternatively, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify or TuneIn. If you like what you hear, leave a review and tell your friends.
Mapping our mentors
Understanding the ideas and technologies that can improve everyone’s lives makes Baillie Gifford better investors. In Lessons learned: connecting with experts, our academic coordinator Dr Eve Hepburn (pictured right) maps the network of scholars and institutions that keeps us informed on the frontiers of learning.
The pamphlet lists 27 joint projects across the globe. They include work on sustainable farming with the James Hutton Institute near Dundee, research into next-generation computer chip technologies with the Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre at Leuven in Belgium and a study of the transition of energy systems to net zero with Imperial College London.
Hepburn explains how these knowledge networks function and how all parties benefit, in ways such as increased research funding, business networking opportunities and ideas for spin-out companies.
If you’d like to learn more about Baillie Gifford’s network of academic partnerships, go to bailliegifford.com/lessons
Web of intrigue
What are the implications of faster genetic sequencing and falling costs? Could driverless vehicles change our urban geography? How and why are some grocers turning into warehouses staffed by robots?
These are among the questions occupying the managers of Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, the largest and longest-managed investment company in Baillie Gifford’s portfolio. The new Scottish Mortgage website is the place to discover more about topics that stimulate its managers’ thinking as they scan the globe for enduring growth businesses. The easy-to-navigate site brings together all the latest articles, films and webinars from the team. It also contains a wealth of knowledge about the Trust’s philosophy, holdings, performance and forthcoming shareholder events. Explore it for yourself at scottishmortgage.com and go to ‘Email Sign Up’ to receive regular updates.
The views expressed in this article should not be considered as advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a particular investment. The article contains information and opinion on investments that does not constitute independent investment research, and is therefore not subject to the protections afforded to independent research.
Some of the views expressed are not necessarily those of Baillie Gifford. Investment markets and conditions can change rapidly, therefore the views expressed should not be taken as statements of fact nor should reliance be placed on them when making investment decisions.
Baillie Gifford & Co Limited is wholly owned by Baillie Gifford & Co. Both companies are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and are based at: Calton Square, 1 Greenside Row, Edinburgh EH1 3AN.
The investment trusts managed by Baillie Gifford & Co Limited are listed on the London Stock Exchange and are not authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
A Key Information Document is available by visiting bailliegifford.com