Firing line  

Greenwashing could be the next mis-selling scandal: BMO fund manager

Mr Jenkins says: “This is not purely a best-in-class strategy. Because of our belief in active ownership and engagement we are happy to buy businesses that have some issues, but they have to be of a sufficiently high quality for us to buy them.”

Mr Jenkins’ route into the industry was far from the usual path taken by financiers. He studied medieval history before entering the industry. 

“The training I received as a historian I thought was well aligned with the role of a fund manager: collating a wide range of information from a wide range of sources and distilling it into a view that required a decision to be taken around it.

“As a fund manager we are invariably making decisions from imperfect information, because by the time you have perfect information, the market already recognises it. You have to be comfortable making decisions off imperfect information,” he says. 

Mr Jenkins says the biggest challenge in his role is ensuring the fund is not overpaying for certain stocks. “Our real focus is on buying quality growth companies that are demonstrating a clear commitment to sustainability. We are looking for quality, growth and sustainability. The greatest challenge is not overpaying for those factors.”

There may be a degree of complacency in global equity markets, he adds. A central objective for him is to raise awareness of the fund in the UK market. 

He says that historically there was a view that ethical and sustainable investment were contrary to achieving positive returns. But now investing in a responsible global equity fund creates a tailwind for performance, because the businesses they are investing in are on the same page as them, says Mr Jenkins. 

He says he expects to see an uptick in the demand for ESG investing. “2020 is going to be an interesting year, because the financial adviser networks are going to have to be more explicit with their clients in asking them: do they want to invest ethically and sustainably?” says Mr Jenkins.

“That could unlock quite a bit of growth of assets into a fund.”

Saloni Sardana is a features writer at FTAdviserand Financial Adviser