Humble, but with high expectations
In the media Øyvind Fjell has been described as a star and is ranked as one of Norway's best managers of Nordic stocks. Nonetheless, it is with a large dose of humility that he takes the reins of the equity fund SKAGEN Vekst.
Headlines in the Norwegian financial press were reminiscent of those seen in the sports sections of dailies when it was announced in March that Øyvind Fjell would be leaving Delphi Funds to join SKAGEN Vekst. It attracts attention when a manager changes team after a decade successfully running an equity fund, in this case Delphi Nordic. Øyvind Fjell explains that the reason he was keen to move is a desire to work with one of Scandinavia's most exciting and experienced portfolio management teams.
"I see joining SKAGEN as taking a step up. I'll have the opportunity to work in a team in which several of the portfolio managers have legendary status. SKAGEN's history and results are unparalleled in Norway. It was simply too exciting an opportunity to resist and I am eager to become part of the company's history," says Øyvind Fjell.
Humble about risk
Øyvind Fjell's excellent results have earned him a nomination as best Nordic manager by Morningstar in 2017. Nonetheless, the word humility is the first to spring to mind when he is asked to describe his most important characteristic as a portfolio manager.
"There are two defining elements which determine whether you are successful as a portfolio manager. One is of course your ability. The other is luck. That is why humility has always been so vital for me. It is important to quickly correct those mistakes that you inevitably make as an active manager. Most portfolio managers can account for their investment style and stock picks. But where you seriously show your strength is in your ability to manage risk in your portfolio, and not being afraid to admit when you have been mistaken," says Øyvind Fjell.
This strategy appears to have worked well so far for Fjell, who has delivered a return that is more than double that of the Delphi Nordics' benchmark index since 2012.
Optimal mix of Nordic and global stocks
SKAGEN Vekst was launched almost 24 years ago. The equity fund has a half Nordic and half global mandate. It is a mandate which offers exciting opportunities to create a robust and diversified portfolio of the best companies from the Nordic countries, seasoned with a good sprinkling of strong global companies.
"I will continue to develop the strong portfolio of companies that the team has already constructed. I will take as my starting point my many years of experience of stock picking in the Nordic equity markets. I would like to create a strong foundation of attractively valued Nordic equities with a focus on the areas where our region is strongest. We will supplement this with carefully selected global stocks in those areas where the Nordic mandate may face challenges. One example might be in the technology sector, where the global mandate has many exciting opportunities," says Øyvind.
He looks forward to collaborating with Alexander Stensrud, who is the other portfolio manager on the SKAGEN Vekst team. They will work closely with the rest of the portfolio managers in SKAGEN, where there is a long tradition of exchanging ideas between funds.
Focus on stock picking
SKAGEN's investment philosophy is well suited to Øyvind Fjell. He has almost ten years' experience doing fundamental research into companies and picking attractively priced companies with the best return potential.
"It will be an exciting and substantial task to work in accordance with SKAGEN's well proven, value-based investment philosophy. Many of the people invested in SKAGEN Vekst have been clients since 1993, whereby they have been invested in the hunt for undervalued and often misunderstood companies. That is a line that I will continue to take. We will at all times focus on finding the most attractively priced high quality companies which have the possibility to reach their full potential over time. Of course I also look forward to making my own mark on the portfolio and applying the experience that I've gained over the years," he concludes.
Øyvind Fjell joins SKAGEN as portfolio manager of SKAGEN Vekst on 3 July 2017.