Natural born value investor
A value investor at heart, Filip Weintraub has now returned to SKAGEN to launch a new equity fund, SKAGEN Focus. Filip brings with him valuable knowledge and experience that is already benefiting SKAGEN's investment processes and stock analysis.
Filip is not new to SKAGEN. In 2001, he met Kristoffer Stensrud and subsequently joined SKAGEN to take over as Lead Portfolio Manager of SKAGEN Global. This is a position he successfully held for nine years, during which time the fund yielded a return of 15.5 percent per annum versus 0.3 percent for the benchmark index. Filip then went on to establish the Labrusca Family Office in 2010, where he managed a long/short equity fund until last year.
Filip has applied a value philosophy throughout his career, focusing on active stock picking of individual companies, independent of geographic markets and industries. He has now come back to SKAGEN to set up a new fund, bringing further knowledge of investing and identifying catalysts for revaluation to the wider portfolio team.
What was your motivation in returning to SKAGEN Funds?
In many ways I never left SKAGEN and have remained close friends with many people here. I believe in the organisation, I believe in the people - and the core values of what I believe is the right way to invest are reflected in the new high concentration fund we are set to launch. The fund embodies the essence of stock picking, and while size is irrelevant, client returns are everything.
What is the most important lesson you learned from running your own asset management company?
I have learned a lot! It is hard for me to define the most important experience. I should mention though just how much the complexity, regulations, and reporting requirements have increased over just 5 years. It is truly stunning, and in my humble opinion not good for either the market or clients.
How will having managed a long/short strategy help you manage the new fund, SKAGEN Focus?
One always learns from experiences - that is the most wonderful part of being an investor, you learn all the time. Being a bottom-up long/short manager actually makes you a better analyst. Each company has an ecosystem of customers, suppliers and competitors to be considered as an alternative investment. Not to mention secular shifts in the business such as technological disruptions or other external variables.
To ask the question "why?" is very important in analysis. Why do I conclude this company is a solid investment? Why do I conclude this company is structurally challenged? There is a synergy in the long/short strategy; only if you really understand why a company is failing, do you realise the strength of the long position, why it should be successful. Therefore, it makes you a better long investor.
Will your process reflect SKAGEN's?
Absolutely. As portfolio manager of SKAGEN Global, I sat next to Kristoffer for almost ten years and it's impossible not to be indoctrinated with the SKAGEN investment philosophy and process after such a long time working together. In fact, it has gone both ways, and to some degree I have been part of forming the SKAGEN process as well.
How will your role enhance SKAGEN's performance?
I'm a better investor than when I left SKAGEN – you learn more from your mistakes than from your successes. In addition, I think that I can bring additional focus, for example when it comes to identifying clear catalysts. Also, I tend to view companies holistically, as organisms, and can at times give input from a real world angle.
Will it be difficult to be back, working in Norway?
Not at all! Being a generalist global stock picker is a global profession - and the Bloomberg screen looks surprisingly similar in most places on earth.
Historical returns are no guarantee for future returns. Future returns will depend, inter alia, on market developments, the fund manager's skills, the fund's risk profile and subscription and management fees. The return may become negative as a result of negative price developments. Key Investor Information Documents (KIIDs) and Prospectuses for all our funds are available on our website.