A Q&A with Investment Manager and co-manager of the Capital Preservation Portfolio, Tom Hewitt.
I am married with 3 boys between the ages of 5 and 11 and live on a farm south of Winchester with some Hereford Cattle. I have been working at GBIM for 3 ½ years having spent the previous 14 years working in London at Lloyds Bank.
Having three young boys and living on a farm means that my weekends are normally pretty busy. I really enjoy the outdoors and keeping fit so whether it be playing football with the boys or chasing after cattle there are lots of opportunities to take a bit of exercise.
Reading is a relaxing part of my day and as my wife is a member of a book club, the book always get passed on to me. It is a great way of broadening my choices as many of the books, I would not have naturally picked myself. I also enjoy cooking, although I probably do not do as much as I should because I have a wife who is an extremely good cook. (Hopefully, she might read this!)
Well apart from an investment manager….. I have always enjoyed the outdoors and working with animals so for some time I liked the idea of becoming a vet. When I became aware of the number of years that the training required, I think that this made my mind wander towards other careers.
I always find that this sort of question is a hard one to answer. I would say that there is no single individual, but many people who have impacted my thinking. When I read about what so many individuals achieve (and in many circumstances really against the odds) it stops me in my tracks. At present, one hears daily stories about how hard people are working and the sacrifices they are making to help support people and it does give you a real sense of pride in the country.
For 14 years, I worked at Bank of Scotland followed by Lloyds Bank in their corporate division in London. I had a fascinating time at the Bank working in three very separate areas: firstly, Leverage Finance (supporting Private Equity firms buy business companies through the provision of debt). Secondly, I spent 5 years from 2008 to 2012 in what was called the Business Support Unit. This was helping restructure companies the Bank had lent to but who needed additional support due to the Financial Crisis. The last part of my career at Lloyds was working in the Bank’s mid-market area helping to support management grow their companies.
I really enjoyed my time spent in banking, meeting some interesting people, working with great colleagues and at times working in extremely challenging circumstances. Toward the end of my time, I felt that the Bank had changed significantly, and it became very difficult to look after clients in the way which I wanted to. In addition, working for a large Bank has its complications around getting things done. I realised that the parts which I enjoyed the most: looking after clients, finding the right solutions for them, along with the analysis of companies was something which I could use effectively in Investment management. I was also keen to work in a smaller company.
The Capital Preservation portfolio has a simple message (as the title suggests!) but not necessarily one which is always easy to put into practice. I most enjoy working with John MacMahon (who founded the portfolio) in reviewing the portfolio, discussing the current positioning and sharing ideas on ways we can seek to reduce the correlation.
We are both ex Bankers and so are both naturally quite cautious which helps in the outlook and what we are seeking to achieve. The portfolio has been going for over 10 years and has achieved what it has set out to. Undeniably 2020 was an extremely challenging year which we thankfully managed to navigate, ending up with a positive contribution for the year.
Without a shadow of doubt, it is the clients and my colleagues. Getting to know both has been great fun as every individual has a different story, experiences, and something to teach one. Another bonus is that I have also not worked in an office with so many fellow Southampton football club supporters!
Click here to meet the rest of the team.