Phileas Asset Management appointed to run flagship European equity strategy

Eric Sturdza Investments, an independent asset management firm that provides actively managed strategies to institutional and wholesale clients, has partnered with Phileas Asset Management, an investment management firm specialising in European equities, to act as an investment adviser for its Strategic Europe Quality Fund.

Actualités
1 Nov 2021

Eric Sturdza Investments, an independent asset management firm that provides actively managed strategies to institutional and wholesale clients, has partnered with Phileas Asset Management, an investment management firm specialising in European equities, to act as an investment adviser for its Strategic Europe Quality Fund.

Based in Paris, Phileas Asset Management (“Phileas”) is a boutique asset manager which was co-founded in 2010 by Ludovic Labal and Cyril Bertrand. Together, Ludovic and Cyril will be responsible for the investment strategy and management of the Strategic Europe Quality Fund, effective 1st November 2021. The current investment team, Lofoten Asset Management, will be stepping back from managing this strategy after 11 successful years.

Since the inception of its long-only equity strategy in 2015, Phileas Equity Europe, Phileas has delivered an annualised return to their clients of approximately 9% – outperforming the MSCI Net TR index by 3% annualised and delivering a consistent top quartile performance within the fund’s peer group. The team was selected after thorough screening and due diligence as part of a planned succession process.

Phileas will maintain the Fund’s current Pan-European equity portfolio, with a focus on quality: selecting stocks that are undervalued and demonstrate long-term growth along with sound financial structure. The team will employ a fundamental, bottom-up stock picking process based on rigorous research including accounting validation and financial analysis to deliver a high-conviction portfolio of 30-40 stocks.

Through this approach, Phileas will invest in opportunities that present the most compelling risk/return profile, through the market cycle – an approach that has historically delivered value to investors.

Phileas is also extremely committed to ESG, and the Fund will continue to adhere to Eric Sturdza Investments’ ESG policy and associated exclusion lists, while also applying their own robust and fully integrated ESG approach. The management team at Phileas are committed active owners and undertake regular engagement with investee companies on ESG related considerations, and regularly vote on key issues.

The Phileas team’s ESG approach closely follows specific ESG factors which the investment team believe have a lasting impact on a company’s value. These include:

  • Environment: Decarbonisation, pollution and waste.
  • Social: Human capital, customer / supplier relations, product impact.
  • Governance: Alignment of interests, board independence, business ethics, risk management.

Eric Sturdza Investments will also take this opportunity to remove the 5bps Research Fee currently charged to the Fund and also reduce the minimum investment criteria associated with the SI share classes from 25 million to 10 million.

Andrew-Fish-eric-sturdza-investments-2021-300-1x

“We are delighted to be working with the Phileas team,” said Andrew Fish, Managing Director of Eric Sturdza Investments. “Their appointment marks an evolution in our flagship European equity strategy’s positioning within the market, while retaining the overall strategy and approach to investing that has delivered so consistently to investors. Ludovic and Cyril’s long track record of producing returns while integrating a robust and forward-looking approach to ESG across their investment process is closely aligned to what is important to our investors and the ethos that sits at the heart of our business today.”
“We take this opportunity to thank Willem and his team at Lofoten for their dedication, commitment and service over the past 11 years. We are proud of the collective achievements to date and look forward to this next stage in the Fund’s evolution”.

Ludovic Labal

Ludovic Labal added: “We are very excited to be working with Eric Sturdza Investments. Investor demands are changing and we look forward to integrating our own robust ESG approach into the Fund, while also maintaining the strong returns the Strategic Europe Quality Fund has historically delivered to its investors.”

 

About Eric Sturdza Investments

Eric Sturdza Investments is an independent asset management firm that provides actively managed strategies to institutional and wholesale clients. We give investors access to the best investment ideas through exceptional investment managers, in product areas where we believe the investment opportunity can add positive value to clients.

The company is part of the Eric Sturdza Group, a Geneva-based Swiss banking group incorporating a private bank, family office and a wealth management company.

Eric Sturdza Investments is headquartered in Guernsey, with offices and representation in Geneva, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

About Phileas Asset Management

Phileas Asset Management SAS (“Phileas”) is a French boutique asset manager, which was founded in 2010 and specialises in the management of European equity investment portfolios, with a strong, demonstratable track record. Phileas has been managing a long / short European market neutral strategy since 2011 and a long-only variant since 2015, both have delivered positive absolute and relative returns to investors.

Phileas Asset Management: team biographies

Ludovic LabalLudovic Labal
Portfolio Manager
Ludovic has 21 years of experience in equity markets. He spent six years at Lazard Frères Gestion as an equity manager, from 2001 to 2006, where he became head of the Mid-Caps division. Ludovic then joined Exane’s Equity Proprietary Account team. For four years, he managed a portfolio of European equities using a Long/Short market neutral strategy. At the end of 2010, Ludovic co-founded Phileas Asset Management with Cyril Bertrand. Ludovic graduated from HEC, and holds a DECF and a CFA designation, as well as the ESG certification issued by the European SFAF association (CESGA: Certified ESG Analyst).

Cyril BertrandCyril Bertrand
Portfolio Manager
Cyril has worked in the equity markets for 23 years. He started as an equity salesman at Société Générale and then at Exane where he became co-head of sales in France and continental Europe. From 1998 to 2009, he advised institutional investors on their European equity investments. In 2009, Cyril joined Ludovic Labal in Exane’s Equity Proprietary Account team as a Long/Short market neutral manager. In 2010, Cyril co-founded Phileas Asset Management with Ludovic. He is a graduate of EM Lyon and holds a DESS in Corporate Finance and International Capital Markets from IEP Paris and the ESG certification issued by the European SFAF association (CESGA: Certified ESG Analyst).

Media FAQs

Why is the Lofoten team stepping back?

Willem Vinke has decided to step back from managing European equities in order to pursue personal projects

We take this opportunity to thank Willem and his team at Lofoten for their dedication, commitment and service over the past 11 years. We are proud of the collective achievements to date and look forward to this next stage in the Fund’s evolution as we look to further align the Fund to the demands of our investors.

Does this mean Willem Vinke is retiring?

While we are not at liberty to discuss the personal decisions of our portfolio managers, we can confirm that Willem and his team at Lofoten Asset Management will continue to manage the Strategic Global Quality Fund – a global equity fund that operates a valuation driven investment approach to buying high-quality businesses at discounted prices. We are looking forward to continuing to work closely with him and his team.

How is the Phileas team different in their investment approach?

Importantly the new team will maintain the Fund’s Pan-European equity portfolio, with a “quality” bias. But the team are style agnostic and strive to invest in those opportunities that present the most compelling risk / return profile.

The team at Phileas have a much greater focus on ESG and sustainability risks, we, therefore, expect significant improvements in the portfolios sustainability and carbon metrics when compared to the Fund’s benchmark.

We expect that the historical bias within the portfolio to consumer-related compounders will be reduced following Phileas’ appointment, with a move towards more dynamic companies.

What was the selection approach?

As part of planned discussions with Willem about his decision to step back from managing European equity strategies, Eric Sturdza Investments initiated its succession planning process, which includes a robust and ongoing in-depth screening of potential investment teams.

This process led to a recommendation by Eric Sturdza Investments that Phileas Asset Management SAS (“Phileas”) be appointed as the Fund’s Investment Adviser following full and complete due diligence being undertaken.

How closely aligned will Phileas be to the Eric Sturdza Group?

The Eric Sturdza Group has taken a minority stake in Phileas to ensure, and demonstrate, the alignment and long-term commitment to the appointment. We believe active ownership will ensure that there is a strong and long-term alignment of interest amongst all stakeholders.

Why was Phileas selected?

Phileas Asset Management is a boutique asset manager which was co-founded in 2010 by Ludovic Labal and Cyril Bertrand, who will be responsible for the investment strategy of the Strategic Europe Quality Fund. They focus on one asset class: European equities.

Together, Ludovic and Cyril have approximately 45 years of experience in the European equity market and, since the inception of their long-only strategy in 2015, they have delivered an annualised return to their clients of approximately 10% – outperforming the MSCI Net TR index by more than 3% annualised.

We were impressed by Phileas’ investment approach that combines in-depth company knowledge with disciplined risk management. Their use of proprietary financial and extra-financial analysis models as part of their investment decision-making process has resulted in a very successful track record. As a result, we are very confident they will continue to manage the Fund successfully.

How important was a robust approach around ESG?

It was very important for us to partner with an asset manager that is committed to ESG investing in order to ensure a strong alignment with our own ethos and aspirations, as well as the demands of our investors.

Phileas have a robust and fully integrated ESG approach and philosophy and are a UNPRI signatory in their own right. They are committed to being active owners, undertaking regular engagement with investee companies on ESG-related considerations, and systematic voting.

The team includes ESG analysis as part of their stock selection process, which considers a number of ESG factors, which they believe have the potential to have a lasting impact on a company’s value. As part of this process they undertake sensitivity analysis, with a focus on the following factors:

  • Environment: Decarbonisation, pollution and waste.
  • Social: Human capital, customer / supplier relations, product impact.
  • Governance: Alignment of interests, board independence, business ethics, risk management.

As a result, the Strategic Europe Quality Fund will continue to adhere to Eric Sturdza Investments’ ESG policy and associated exclusion lists, along with Phileas’ own exclusion list (which is aligned to the exclusion list issued by the Norges Bank).

Please do not hesitate to contact Adam if you require further information.

Adam TurbervilleAdam Turberville
Director
+44 1481 742380
a.turberville@ericsturdza.com

 

 

Disclaimer

Eric Sturdza Investments’ head office is authorised to provide investment management and advisory services to collective investment schemes pursuant to applicable laws and regulations and is regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission with registration number: 35985, having its registered office at 3rd Floor, Maison Trinity, Rue du Pre, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 1LT Channel Islands. The content of this document is based upon sources of information believed to be reliable and comes without warranties of any kind. Any opinion, estimates or forecasts may be changed at any time without prior warning. If in doubt, please seek independent advice. It is intended to provide the professional investor with general information about Phileas’ specific capabilities, but has not been prepared by Eric Sturdza Investments as investment research and does not constitute an investment recommendation or advice to buy or sell certain securities or investment products and/or to adopt any investment strategy and/or legal, accounting or tax advice. This material may not be copied or used without obtaining the prior written approval of Eric Sturdza Investments. Detailed information for the Strategic Europe Quality Fund and associated risks is contained in the prospectus. The prospectus and Key Investor Information Document for the Strategic Europe Quality Fund can be obtained free of charge at www.ericsturdza.com.