The market is cheaper today than it was in 2009
SVG’s Jamie Seaton talks to Simona Stankovska about how to beat ‘bargain basement’ equity markets
As the grandchild of motoring entrepreneur Douglas Seaton, Jamie Seaton, manager of the £71.1m SVG UK Focus fund, could have spent the summer’s day he met Investment Adviser sipping champagne on a yacht in Cannes – if only the car his grandfather invented, the Seaton-Petter, had paid off.
Fortunately – or unfortunately – the closest Mr Seaton has got to celebrity status is having his photo taken for the investment press in the heart of the City, as his grandfather’s car only sold 50 units. Nevertheless, Mr Seaton says that his forebear, who went on to launch a successful car dealership business, still inspired him to pave his own path in finance.
“I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to join the family business, but I always had an interest in business on the back of that, so I studied economics and business economics at Southampton University, which at the time was my way of exploring that,” explains Mr Seaton.
“It was a good grounding for what I went on to do. It made the transition into fund management easier.”
On graduating in 1996, Mr Seaton started his career as an equities analyst with Goldman Sachs. He enjoyed the job, but says that it helped him realise that his dream was to work at an investment management firm – not an investment bank.
In 2000, an opportunity “too good to turn down” arose. Mr Seaton was offered a role with blue-blooded City investment group Rothschild Asset Management (RAM), with the task of helping to build the firm’s retail and institutional arm. However, in April 2004, the Rothschild family decided that the business was not performing as it had envisaged and sold RAM to Insight Investment.
“When I joined, the family had put money behind the business and decided to build it up, so they invested in systems and people. But timing wasn’t particularly good from a Rothschild perspective, because as they were putting money into the business to invest in the infrastructure we went through the dotcom bubble, which burst.
“We had very good relative performance, but stockmarkets in that period of time went from top left to bottom right, and the family, having originally given the business five years or so, decided that they were ultimately going to retrench back into what was the core of their business, which was investment banking,” he says.
Mr Seaton didn’t want to make the move to Insight and as a result, jumped ship and joined SVG Investment Managers – a boutique that specialises in applying private equity investment techniques to public markets – in 2004.
Having spent four years at RAM on the firm’s pan-European desk, running roughly £500m, the manager relished a new challenge.
In 2009, having been the first non-founder to join the business, he was made lead manager on the SVG UK Focus fund, taking over from Adam Steiner, one of the founders of SVG.