Interview - Philip Matthews, Jupiter Growth and Income
Mention fly-fishing and the usual thought that springs to mind is the elderly gentleman with the quaint name of JR Hartley in the Yellow Pages advert, not a young fund manager such as Philip Matthews.
He admits: “I love fly-fishing, I bore everyone senseless in the office about it, but that is how I relax. I totally switch off and I love being outside.”
The manager, who has spent his entire fund management career at Jupiter, was identified in Investment Adviser’s January issue as ‘one to watch’ by Rob Burdett, co-head of Thames River Multi-Manager.
When asked how he feels about this, he laughingly replies it’s like being asked about being a finalist on a reality show.
But he adds: “It’s a challenge, and I’ve got to continue doing what I’ve been doing over the past five years and delivering on the performance side.”
However he didn’t start out with ambitions to be a fund manager. After studying Modern & Medieval Languages (Italian and German) at Corpus Christie College Cambridge, Mr Matthews worked for a year in the residential investment department at Chesterton’s property and estate agent business.
He says: “I came out of university and wasn’t entirely sure where I wanted to go but I was interested in both investments and in buildings – architecture, that type of stuff – so I got a job at Chesterton.
“But I realised I was more interested in the investment aspect of it, and if I wanted to understand where property sat within the context of other investments. I needed to work in a business that was entirely focused on investments.”
After leaving Chesterton he debated which part of the City he wanted to enter, including corporate finance, broking, sales and of course fund management.
“Fund management seemed to me to be a particularly interesting part of the market in that ultimately, your performance is incredibly measurable – so if you’re good or you’re bad it’s very clear to everybody.
“I kind of like the idea that if you’re going to be any good, it will be quite obvious. Also, as a fund manager you are the one who effectively has the money and is taking the ultimate decision, rather than advising other people. So that was attractive.”
Mr Matthews joined Jupiter in 1999 after a work experience stint at the firm.
“On the back of that I got a job and started working, initially, with William Littlewood, who was running the income fund at that point. This coincided with Jupiter being bought out entirely by Commerzbank [in 2000] and an opportunity emerged to run a small-cap pension fund mandate, which I took over at the end of 2001.
“I have been effectively managing funds for 10 years now. I started off with the pension mandate then was given a small-cap unit trust, before Tony [Nutt] asked me to come over and work on the income products and give up the small-cap stuff.”
He made the move to income investing in 2006, becoming manager of the £102.3m Jupiter Growth and Income fund, and earlier this month was invited by Mr Nutt to also take over as deputy head of the £2.46bn Jupiter Income Trust.