10 Years MainFirst Top European Ideas Fund


Transcription of the Video:

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, For the 10th anniversary of our Top European Ideas, I would like to say a few words about this fund. Ten years ago, I was enjoying considerable success in managing both US and international equity funds, when I felt the desire to maybe set out on a new path. I quickly decided that the European equity market looked very interesting. So in July 2007, I launched Top European Ideas, together with, at the time, just one employee. Today, we are a successful team of four. Together, we draw on 60 years of professional experience and we are convinced that we will continue to do very good work. Why do we believe in this? I will give you an example. Imagine the role of a business manager or owner who has new positions to fill. He wants to hire five new people and has to look at applications and schedule interviews. So he invites potential employees to his office, reads their application documents and considers each candidate. It’s up to him to decide how many to invite, but if he has five jobs to fill, he’ll probably want to look at several dozen candidates. In our case, we add about five companies to our portfolio each year, but we look at something like 300 companies a year. We subject them to rigorous analysis and try to find out everything about them in order to get a clear picture of the firm and, ultimately, make a very strict assessment. These 300 companies come from a variety of industries, are based in various countries and can also be very different in size and age. But we only buy a handful into the portfolio each year. So when you look at 300 companies, and only choose four or six a year, you’ve rejected 98% of all candidates. I think this alone shows how very critical we are in our assessment. And that we have a complex and demanding selection process. If you only pick one out of every 50 or 60 companies, then you can probably be sure that the ones you’ve chosen are excellent candidates. This process is the foundation of our success. In addition, within our team, each of us has very different perspectives, very different approaches and, above all, a wealth of experience in very different areas. But it is more than that. We are also successful thanks to our discipline: we are particularly critical in our analyses and hate making mistakes. Another factor may also be that we enjoy what we do – I would even say that we are passionate about our work. All this helps us to achieve great success in our work. Allow me to draw another parallel for you: think of the typical portfolio manager. What does he do? He thinks about whether to buy into Roche or Novartis. Maybe he has the task of deciding which stock to overweight – BMW or Daimler – while underweighting the other. That’s not our scope. We look for high-flyers, for companies whose share prices could still double or triple. It is not a determining factor whether they are large or small caps, or if they’re based in France, England or Spain. We look for companies that still have a lot of potential and have great prospects and are thus interesting for us. That together with the fact that they are conservatively managed, have strong balance sheets and are hopefully conservative in the assessment of their potential. These are the candidates we’re looking for. These are the companies we focus on in our portfolio. And when you look at our fund, you'll see a list of 50 stocks, but the top ten make up half of the portfolio. This reflects our approach: we concentrate on a small selection of companies that we firmly believe in, and the vast majority of these investments work out for us. Our approach is tried and tested: we’ve outperformed our index nearly every year, and we've generated an outperformance of 70% in ten years. These are, I think, truly excellent results. We certainly intend to maintain this performance, and possibly even improve it. Our current volume in assets under management – namely one billion – is certainly only a stepping stone towards future success. I would like to invite you, to invest in our fund. We will continue to work hard to achieve the best results for you. Thank you!