Max Anderl joined UBS back in 2000 as an equity fund manager in Zurich. He is currently the lead portfolio manager of the five-star rated UBS European Opportunity fund among others. The fund invests mainly in companies domiciled or chiefly active in Europe, such as the oil and gas company Shell and the cereal and chocolate drink producer Nestle. It has enjoyed a strong 8.8% annualised return over the last 10 years.
What does the funds do?
Invests in around 50 names, with the aim of outperforming the European equity market.
What is your favourite stock in the portfolio?
I don’t have a favourite stock. A portfolio of 50 good risk-reward names to us is always preferable to a single specific example, and the reason the fund has performed so well.
What is the best investment in your career?
LSE stock exchange, we bought it in 2014 at around £2 and has risen to £7 nowadays. It’s been a great story of share price growth.
And what’s the worst?
The outsourcing company Capita. It had a strong reputation since the nineties, but in 2016 the company turned to the worst – they struggled after facing unprecedented pricing pressure in a time of stretched financials. Fortunately, we sold the shares early and avoided half of the losses.
What’s the stock you didn’t buy that you wish you had?
Ferrari, a company everybody knows. It changed from being predominantly car dominated to being a luxury company, margins went up and the stocks have done very well – initially their shares were listed at just over €40, and they are now, three and a half years later, trading at roughly €140.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
It’s good to remain open-minded. We’ve seen so many changes since the financial crisis, the central banks doing policies, it’s good not being bogged down too much with macroeconomic estimations, but to focus on the stocks.
What do you do in your spare time?
In addition to being with my family whenever possible, I like to spend time in the gym – it helps me clear my mind and block out the noise to refresh and focus on the real reasons that move stocks and markets! I also like travelling, it opens one’s mind to new cultures.
If I weren’t a fund manager…
I would be a biochemist, maybe working in the pharmaceutical industry. This field is very interesting at the moment, the pace of innovation is accelerating fast, giving away so many new opportunities.
What’s the best thing about this industry?
Everyday something happens and you can put your finger in a different pie. There are so many industries and markets out there, and if you are intrigued, there’s never a boring moment.
And what’s the worst?
That since the crisis, the financial industry has been painted in a terrible light. But fund managers in particular are important participants in financial markets, allocating capital to growing companies and helping solve problems of savers and pensioners.
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