J. Safra Sarasin Awarded Best Private Bank for Thematic Investing
Banque J. Safra Sarasin embraced thematic investing more than 30 years ago, and prides itself in being one of the industry pioneers in this space. The investment approach starts by identifying multi-decade megatrends and key structural themes expected to shape the world.
The current environment provides good hunting ground for thematic funds, as investors today are challenged by slow economic growth in a rapidly changing world. “A thematically led investment process enables us to identify the global companies that can thrive in this era of disruption,” explains Jeremy Thomas, head of thematic equities at Sarasin & Partners, the J. Safra Sarasin Group’s London-based asset manager. “Where there is disruption there is opportunity, as investors typically underappreciate the duration or magnitude of change,” he adds.
Thematic investing greatly appeal to private clients. Mega themes such as digitalisation, automation, ageing, evolving consumption, or climate change are intentionally ubiquitous, and therefore easy for investors to appreciate and understand.
Sarasin’s core equity strategies draw from these themes to find individual companies best placed to exploit growth opportunities, each stock having its own idiosyncratic investment case. This investment process allows the firm to build high-conviction, concentrated portfolios, highly differentiated from broad indices. This is also the key risk around thematic investing, believes Mr Thomas, as investors have to accept the inevitable volatility that comes with equity securities and understand that returns may differ markedly from market indices in the shorter term. ESG and sustainability considerations are embedded in every stage of Sarasin’s thematic investment process, with the firm engaging actively with investee companies.