“MY KIDS call Nudgem the man with the funny ears because as they grew up, they kept seeing him on my computer screen with his headphones on,” says fund manager Chris Lees of his investing partner of more than 20 years, Nudgem Richyal.
Remote working? The pair have been doing it for years.
Richyal lives in Singapore while Londoner Lees resides in a small village in the Swiss Alps. They haven’t been in each other’s physical presence since June 2020.
“None of this remote working is new to us,” Richyal explains. “We’ve been doing video calls for a long time.”
For the past 17 years the pair have overseen one of the most successful and highly differentiated high-conviction global equities funds.
Lees and Richyal created their strategy in 2004 at London-based Barings Asset Management. In 2008 they brought it to Pendal Group’s UK-based asset manager J O Hambro Capital Management, where they built it into a US$5.3 billion fund.
Since then JOHCM Global Select Fund has delivered 3.13%* annualised alpha (before fees) compared to the MSCI All Country World NR Index benchmark.
After recently launching the strategy in Australia as Pendal Global Select Fund, research house Zenith awarded the fund its highest rating of “Highly recommended” (Sep 27, 2021).**
The strategy features very different names to those that frequently dominate global equity funds. Yet since its inception in 2008, JOHCM Global Select Fund has delivered top-decile performance in Lipper and 2nd decile in Morningstar.*
Lees describes his relationship with Richyal as Yin and Yang – two sides that make up a formidable investment team.
“It’s why we are better together,” Lees explains. “He is definitely not a mini-me. I tend to be big picture first, and then concepts and then drill into the details. I’m good at buying the dips in long-term compounding, great companies.
“Nudgem is details first. And once he’s happy with the details, he steps back and looks at the big picture in a way that many details people can’t.
“I’m very good at holding on to our long-term winners and he is very good at saying ‘actually things might be changing and we need to think about selling’,” Lees says. “Nudgem has brought to the process a ruthless sell discipline.
“Instinctively I’m very good at buying and Nudgem is very good at selling.”
Neither of them started in finance. Lees studied geography and Richyal studied chemistry.
Between Richyal’s second and third year at university, he undertook a work placement. One of his bosses suggested he should try banking rather than science and he soon got a job at British merchant bank Hill Samuel.
On his first day Hill Samuel owner Lloyd Banking Group merged with Scottish Widows — and the investment bank part of the business was going to move to Edinburgh.
“I didn’t want to go … so I got a job at Barings. As part of the traineeship I spent six months in the North American business and that’s where I met Chris.
“He’s a very bubbly personality,” Richyal says of his partner. “He’s an enthusiast and in the US office that wasn’t out of the ordinary. But that type of personality sticks out a little bit more in a UK context.”
While Richyal was still finding his way in the world of finance, Lees had long left geography behind and had nearly decade of experience when he met Richyal.
“When Nudgem was on his graduate program, I was just blown away by his raw intellect,” Lees says. “He’s one of the cleverest people I’ve had the privilege to meet.”
Lees had been asked to move back to London and build a global equities capability. He remembers his boss at the time said build a global equities process not on the way the world should be, but on the way the world is.
“Today those words are still so important. You never make money on should. You make money in an ugly, complicated, evolving, grey world,” Lees explains.
“I asked Nudgem to help build this new global investment process from scratch based on the way the world actually is.”
Richyal liked the idea.
“I thought that it was a very interesting concept. I thought that was the most entrepreneurial choice to make at the time, and in hindsight I was right,” he says.
The two have been working together ever since.
Hear more from Pendal Global Select Fund portfolio managers Chris Lees and Nudgem Richyal:
Sometimes they agree. Sometimes they don’t. In fact, they can be at polar ends of a debate.
“We can disagree about a stock or a sector. But that’s just part of the marriage,” Richyal says.
Lees said it wouldn’t work if they always agreed.
“If I wanted someone to agree with me, I would have employed a mini-me and we wouldn’t be very good.”
After 21 years is it still working?
“Nudgem has had job offers for more money,” Lees says. “He’s told me and said we were better working together.
“That’s commitment. I know we’re better together so we’re not splitting up anytime soon. We’re not going anywhere.”
*Source: JO Hambro, Morningstar universe – Global Large-Cap Growth Equity funds, Lipper survey – Sector quartile ranking: IA Global, and Lipper Global Equity Global domiciled in the UK, offshore Ireland, or offshore Luxembourg. Lipper ranking is from A GBP Class. Please note that these performance figures have not been calculated in accordance with the Financial Services Council (FSC) standards
** The Zenith Investment Partners (ABN 27 103 132 672, AFS Licence 226872) (“Zenith”) rating (assigned ) referred to in this document is limited to “General Advice” (s766B Corporations Act 2001) for Wholesale clients only. This advice has been prepared without taking into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any individual and is subject to change at any time without prior notice. It is not a specific recommendation to purchase, sell or hold the relevant product(s). Investors should seek independent financial advice before making an investment decision and should consider the appropriateness of this advice in light of their own objectives, financial situation and needs. Investors should obtain a copy of and consider the PDS or offer document before making any decision and refer to the full Zenith Product Assessment available on the Zenith website. Past performance is not an indication of future performance. Zenith usually charges the product issuer, fund manager or related party to conduct Product Assessments. Full details regarding Zenith’s methodology, ratings definitions and regulatory compliance are available on our Product Assessments and at http://www.zenithpartners. com.au/RegulatoryGuidelines
Chris Lees and Nudgem Richyal are senior fund managers of Pendal Global Select Fund. The pair have been working together as investment managers for more than 20 years.
Chris has more than 32 years of investment industry experience. He joined Pendal Group’s UK-based asset manager J O Hambro Capital Management (JOHCM) in 2008 after spending 19 years at Baring Asset Management, ultimately as head of its global sector team.
Nudgem has 22 years of industry experience, joining JOHCM with Chris in 2008. He was previously an investment director with the Global Equity Group of Baring Asset Management, where he worked closely with Chris since 2001.
* Source: JO Hambro, Morningstar universe – Global Large-Cap Growth Equity funds, Lipper survey – Sector quartile ranking: IA Global, and Lipper Global Equity Global domiciled in the UK, offshore Ireland, or offshore Luxembourg. Lipper ranking is from A GBP Class. Please note that these performance figures have not been calculated in accordance with the Financial Services Council (FSC) standards.
Pendal Global Select Fund is a global equities portfolio with a distinctive, yet proven approach and a 17-year track record of outperformance. Since its inception, the underlying strategy (JOHCM Global Select Fund) has delivered top-decile performance in Lipper and 2nd decile in Morningstar.*
Pendal is an independent, global investment management business focused on delivering superior investment returns for our clients through active management. Pendal Group includes Pendal Australia, J O Hambro Capital Management, Regnan and Thompson, Siegel and Walmsley (TSW).
This information has been prepared by Pendal Fund Services Limited (PFSL) ABN 13 161 249 332, AFSL No 431426 and is current as at September 27, 2021. PFSL is the responsible entity and issuer of units in the Pendal Global Select Fund (Fund) ARSN: 651 789 678. A product disclosure statement (PDS) is available for the Fund and can be obtained by calling 1300 346 821 or visiting www.pendalgroup.com. The Target Market Determination (TMD) for the Fund is available at www.pendalgroup.com/ddo. You should obtain and consider the PDS and the TMD before deciding whether to acquire, continue to hold or dispose of units in the Fund. An investment in the Fund or any of the funds referred to in this web page is subject to investment risk, including possible delays in repayment of withdrawal proceeds and loss of income and principal invested. This information is for general purposes only, should not be considered as a comprehensive statement on any matter and should not be relied upon as such. It has been prepared without taking into account any recipient’s personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, recipients should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness having regard to their individual objectives, financial situation and needs. This information is not to be regarded as a securities recommendation. The information may contain material provided by third parties, is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be accurate as at its issue date. While such material is published with necessary permission, and while all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information is complete and correct, to the maximum extent permitted by law neither PFSL nor any company in the Pendal group accepts any responsibility or liability for the accuracy or completeness of this information. Performance figures are calculated in accordance with the Financial Services Council (FSC) standards. Performance data (post-fee) assumes reinvestment of distributions and is calculated using exit prices, net of management costs. Performance data (pre-fee) is calculated by adding back management costs to the post-fee performance. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Any projections are predictive only and should not be relied upon when making an investment decision or recommendation. Whilst we have used every effort to ensure that the assumptions on which the projections are based are reasonable, the projections may be based on incorrect assumptions or may not take into account known or unknown risks and uncertainties. The actual results may differ materially from these projections. For more information, please call Customer Relations on 1300 346 821 8:00am to 6:00pm (Sydney time) or visit our website www.pendalgroup.com
The Target Market Determination (TMD) for the Fund is available at www.pendalgroup.com/ddo. You should obtain and consider the PDS and the TMD before deciding whether to acquire, continue to hold or dispose of units in the Fund.