When Ross Teverson departed Standard Life Investments in June 2014 after 15 years at the asset manager to join the emerging markets team at Jupiter Asset Management, it came as a surprise to many in the industry.
Questions often arise when a longstanding fund manager suddenly leaves to join a competitor. Mr Teverson has been asked “many times” why he left Standard Life but insists he had a “positive experience” during his 15 years there.
“[I] was running a fund which was performing very well and an unconstrained fund, which is the way I think money should be managed,” he notes. “So really for me, it was all pull factors that brought me here to Jupiter.”
He adds: “There was an opportunity here at Jupiter to have an emerging markets team that’s focused entirely on running benchmark-agnostic products. We don’t think about the benchmark when we build our portfolios here. We’re simply looking for the highest-conviction ideas and then putting those high-conviction ideas together into portfolios that are built in such a way that we think they offer the best risk-reward proposition to investors.”
Another suggestion is that working for a smaller asset manager than the behemoth that is Standard Life Investments appealed to him.
“I think the culture here is very entrepreneurial and it’s also a meritocratic culture as well,” he says. “I think Jupiter offers an environment where individuals are given the support to thrive and to put into place the investment strategies they think are right. I certainly think that Jupiter, as a pure asset manager, can be focused on providing the right structure, having the right culture in place to ensure the best possible results as a fund manager, rather than being part of a big organisation.”
His interest in entrepreneurialism started as a teenager, when he imagined that he would have his own business one day. Even at that age, he says, he enjoyed buying bikes and motorbikes that he thought were undervalued and selling them on at a profit.
“It was only when I was at university, when I was looking at the various career options open to graduates, that actually going into fund management, and spending my time speaking to companies and taking a view as to what would make those companies successful, was an option for me,” he says. “Having thought about so many different business ideas myself over the years, that’s something that I thought would be fascinating.”
Prompted by one of his teachers, he studied for a geography degree. “The advice I was given when I went to university was, ‘Don’t do something because you think you should, do something because you think you’ll enjoy it,’” he says.
“So certainly I did my degree not with an idea that it would necessarily lead to a career in fund management. It was because I enjoyed geography, and geography is very much about taking insights from lots of different disciplines – whether it be economics, sociology or environmental sciences – and bringing together those insights in such a way as you understand how the world works.”