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95% Perspiration.
by Peter Hargreaves

30 Apr 2020


During the UK’s general confinement it has been relatively simple to keep in touch through technology. Video contact, in particular, has proliferated. Ever increasing numbers of people have embraced new technologies, often much to their own astonishment.

Whilst I have been in lockdown, something which has engaged me (aside from my newfound love of video calling and internet banking) has been the share prices of quoted companies. There has been a huge dichotomy between the winners and losers. Some price swings were predictable, and some have been surprising.

One sector which has delivered a general surprise has been the FAAMGs - Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google. These companies clumsily labelled “tech giants” and therefore considered “risky”, have managed rather well. It has been a guide to one of the most important changes in the world economy.

This is a salutary lesson to traditional fund managers who still court the old-world order. Previously they relied on recovery stocks recovering and cyclical stocks rotating back to prominence. It is my belief that this strategy is now outdated – many of these recovery and cyclical stocks may not even survive. Taking the “ostrich strategy” of ignoring your losses in the hope the stock will bounce back as before could lead to a surprise – and not necessarily the one you were hoping for!

If I go back to my opening, the FAAMGs have been the conduits to aid communication and trade during this lockdown. There was a feeling that technology had already been universally embraced - that proved not completely true, but rest assured the take up has now burgeoned.

I firmly believe there is valuable lesson which I don’t think has been widely acclaimed - It is vital you understand in detail everything about the companies in which you invest. The bar stool tip might perform short term but unless you know the reason for investing you cannot decide whether to sell or keep long term.

This brings me to the team at Blue Whale. I have said (to much scepticism) that the Blue Whale analysts invariably know more about the companies in which they invest than the average employee of those companies. Managing a portfolio of shares successfully does not depend on flair, intuition, or clairvoyance - it is conscientious constant attention.

Throughout the years it has become only too apparent to me that the best funds always have such a diligent person in the hot seat. In fund management there is no room for complacency or less than 100% commitment. Only total dedication will do; engagement both arduous and demanding.

I have no idea how fund managers in general have approached the turmoil and consternation in which we find ourselves. I do however know that the team at Blue Whale have continued with the same assiduity that they exhibit constantly. Blue Whale’s performance is no accident. Long hours and commitment are the reason for the numbers. This continues and I feel confident the results will bear this out.

Are eureka moments a consequence of 95% perspiration and 5% inspiration? Effort might just be 100% responsible.

Please note that the information provided in this blog is not to be construed as advice and any views we express on holdings do not constitute investment recommendations and must not be viewed as such. If you are unsure as to the suitability of an investment for your circumstances, please seek independent financial advice. Investments can go down in value as well as up so you may get back less than you invested. Your capital is at risk. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.