Performance update – March 2022

In my January commentary, the aptly named ‘Bumpy Start’, I concluded by saying that recent events, and extreme market volatility, necessitated a ratcheting-up in investment team communication. Since then, I’ve had numerous calls with multiple advisers, the investment team has hosted several market outlook calls, all well attended, and we’ve started publishing more material which you can now access via the new Insights page on the Titan Asset Management website. The latest additions include blog posts from James Peel, ESG Portfolio Manager, and Alex Livingstone, Head of Trading and FX. We’ve also had extensive press coverage with investment team commentary appearing in The Guardian, London Evening Standard and Investment Week.

With everything that is happening in the world right now, and there’s a lot going on, I thought it would be useful to buck the trend, take a step back, and look at the bigger picture. Specifically, the evolution of our investment management process and an update on performance. As you can see in the table below, on an absolute basis the ACUMEN Portfolios have fallen in value since the start of the year. This is unsurprising given recent market headwinds. However, on a relative basis the funds have held up remarkably well, particularly versus the IA sector peer group. On a longer-term basis, the funds are performing exceptionally well too, as evidenced by ACUMEN Portfolio 8 which is outperforming the IA sector by approximately 10% inception-to-date.

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There are a variety of reasons for strong relative performance. Specifically, our active currency management strategy, commodity carve-out, revamped equity exposure, ESG focus and short-duration fixed income bias. Each of these topics will be covered by the asset class specialists within the team, starting with Alex’s latest blog the ‘Importance of Foreign Exchange’. But what I want to focus on here is the common thread binding these themes, which find their origin back in June 2020 with our strategic review. At that time, we conducted a strategic review of the funds to build-upon the team’s already strong track record. Without changing our fundamental approach to investment management, the review culminated in a number of adjustments designed to enhance our overall process.

These include introducing technical analysis to our fundamental basis, reducing the overall number of positions in each fund by half, adjusting our currency overlay strategy and shifting towards a new strategic asset allocation better aligned with the nuances of the UK investment retail space.

In my opinion, these strategic changes have contributed to a considerable improvement in investment performance. The chart below demonstrates this narrative particularly well. It shows the performance of ACUMEN Portfolio 6, which is our largest fund by AUM. Whilst performance closely mirrored the IA Sector up until June 2020, you can see that from that point forwards, subsequent performance has been noticeably differentiated. I attribute this positive development to the hard work, experience and dedication of the investment team.

John Leiper is the Chief Investment Officer of Titan Asset Management and carries direct responsibility for all investments in the Centralised Investment Proposition (CIP) at the firm.

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The previous Titan Asset Management funds have now moved to a new site and trading entity, Titan Investment Solutions. Titan Asset Management now holds the MPS only.

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Paul Hunt

CEO

Paul Hunt is a proven business leader and entrepreneur with over 30 years’ experience and track record of scaling businesses across multiple sectors. Hunt is highly experienced in business turnarounds, strategic planning and creating a positive people culture geared for success.

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David Chandler

Portfolio Assistant

David is responsible for providing operational support to the fund managers. David has passed the CFA UK IMC and graduated in 2018 with a degree in Economics and Business Management from the University of Sheffield.

James Peel, CFA

Portfolio Manager – ESG

James is a Portfolio Manager at Titan Asset Management and is responsible for Titan’s approach to sustainable investing. He previously worked as a researcher at the British Chamber of Commerce in Taipei. James graduated in 2018 from the University of St Andrews, where he studied economics. He is a CFA charter holder and has passed the CFA UK Investment Management Certificate (IMC), the CFA UK Certificate in ESG Investing, and the CFA UK Certificate in Climate and Investing (CCI).

Jonah Levy, CFA

Portfolio Manager – Physicals

When not collecting various minerals and mining memorabilia, Jonah can be found managing the physical allocations at Titan Asset Management. Prior to Titan he worked at Tavistock Wealth for 3 years, having previously gained experience in Holland at an oil brokerage, and in London at an energy trading house. Jonah is a CFA charter holder, having graduated from St. Andrews University with an MA in Management and Economics.

Alex Livingstone, CFA

Head of Trading – FX & ETFs

Alex is responsible for the ETF trading and FX strategy at Titan Asset Management and has executed over £5 billion of trades during his prior 4 years at Tavistock Wealth. Alex also assists in the wider portfolio management of the CIP specialising in technical analysis and risk management. He is a CFA charter holder and holds an BSc in Retailing, Marketing and Management from Loughborough University.

Sekar Indran, CFA

Senior Portfolio Manager – Equities

Sekar is responsible for managing the team’s equity investments. He helped expand the investment proposition over five years at Tavistock Wealth and continues this role at Titan Asset Management. Sekar has prior financial services experience at Barclays and Allianz. He is a CFA charter holder and holds a BSc degree in Industrial Economics from the University of Nottingham.

John Leiper, MSc, CFA, FDP, CFTe

Chief Investment Officer

John Leiper is the Chief Investment Officer of Titan Asset Management and carries direct responsibility for all investments in the Centralised Investment Proposition (CIP) at the firm. John has 15 years’ experience in financial markets having previously worked in a variety of roles at RBS, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Tavistock Wealth. John Leiper is a CFA and FDP charter holder and a member of the Society of Technical Analysts. He holds a BSc degree in Economics from Warwick University and an MSc degree in Economic History from the London School of Economics.

Matthew Cureton

Co-Founder

Matthew has been an intrinsic part of Haibun (now Titan Alternatives) since its formation. As a Co-Founder, he has focused on developing relationships with clients, providers, and companies seeking funding.

Matthew’s personal involvement with the fund-raising activities at Titan Alternatives starts at the very beginning of each journey.

Incorporating the due diligence process, meeting with the various management teams, and visiting companies on site, to then being involved with the marketing documents, hosting presentations, and facilitating the investments for clients. Matthew also continues to monitor and report on the investment throughout its life, which has included him taking on Non-Executive Directorships or observer roles on various company boards.