One of the first things Borges did when confronted with the financial market meltdown in September 2008, was starting to look for a European equity manager that looks beyond short-term market volatility, instead focusing on long-term trends. He found what he was looking for in Alexander Darwall, the long-time manager of the Jupiter European Growth Fund.
Indeed, it was the manager rather than the fund or company that Borges was buying into. “Of all managers I’ve met, he is one of the most enthusiastic in explaining what he does,” says Borges. “And he really seems to mean what he says. You don’t always get that feeling with fund managers.”
Borges admits that the performance of the fund is is totally dependent on the manager. “If he were to leave, we would sell the fund immediately,” he says. However, and perhaps surprisingly, the Portuguese investor turns out not to be a fan of the concept of star manager, as all-powerful managers often tend to become complacent, he believes. But Borges is convinced that Darwall’s success hasn’t gone to his head. “When I talk to him now, and I did in June last year, I have the impression he is still the same person as in 2008.”
Keeping the focus
So what does Borges exactly like about Darwall (pictured left), besides him having remained down to earth?
It’s his focus and consistent investment style. “The fund has a concentrated portfolio with a strong quality growth tilt. It’s the most concentrated fund we have, as their top-10 has usually accounted for 50 to 60% of the total fund,” he explains. “We prefer a manager to have excellent knowledge of a limited number of companies than a manager having just above average knowledge of a lot of companies.”