Q&A: Introducing our new directors Andrew Ross & Gabrielle Boyle
Q: How do you think your experience will help Witan?
I have spent over 20 years in CEO and Chairman roles at investment and wealth management firms. During this time, I have built businesses, managed and worked with great fund managers and overseen three different multimanager businesses. Given my experience at Cazenove and Schroders with ultimate responsibility for our clients’ wealth, I understand the importance of integrity, trust and long-term thinking to investors.
With 30 years’ investment experience managing both global and European equity portfolios, I have lived through many different market cycles, global economic change and invested in companies and industries all over the world. This experience has taught me the importance of patient, long-term thinking, integrity and alignment of interest. These are all characteristics integral to Witan in its drive to deliver excellent performance for our investors.
Q: What do you view as the Company’s key strengths and the main opportunities and challenges it faces?
From its beginnings in 1909 to its strategy today Witan has shown a history of evolution to suit the objectives of its shareholders. Witan was ahead of its time in adopting our business model of selecting the best third-party managers. This remains an attractive approach for shareholders today to avoid the concentration risk of a single manager and to have tried and tested professionals picking your equity managers for you. Our strong Executive team and Board, including many experienced investors, are integral to this.
With a history of long-term relationships Witan has a wonderful opportunity to partner with talented managers, sometimes early in their development, as the Trust broadens the investment opportunity set internationally to seek strong capital appreciation combined with a growing dividend. As experienced custodians of capital, corporate governance and capital discipline are key tenets of the Trust’s philosophy. Consideration of ESG factors is increasingly integrated within our investment process and will continue to gain greater prominence. More and more of our investors now hold their shares through nominee accounts on online platforms. Our challenge is to make sure they have the relevant information they require to stay abreast of the Company’s developments and encourage shareholder engagement.
Q: What is your message to Witan’s stakeholders?
Our independence means we are single minded in our focus on delivering returns for our shareholders and completely aligned with them. Our other stakeholders, be they our employees, our underlying managers or other suppliers, will all share our Board’s enthusiasm for this. Under the last Chairman, Witan was innovative and produced excellent returns. Your Board will be striving to do the same in the new decade.
Witan’s heritage, purpose and entire focus is to grow our investors’ wealth over the long term by investing with excellent custodians of capital. The new decade brings much social, political, technological and economic change and it is more important than ever to invest with managers who will make good, rational decisions. Although performance cannot be guaranteed, we are confident that Witan’s selected managers will continue to deliver strong returns for the future.
Please remember, past performance is not a guide to future performance, and the value of shares and the income from them can rise and fall, so investors may not get back the amount originally invested.