About Smith & Williamson
Smith & Williamson Investment Management manages assets on behalf of trustees and directors, international families, private clients, charities and institutions. We employ over 170 qualified investment managers in the UK, Europe and Channel Islands and have approximately £19.4 billion of funds under management and advice (as at 31 March 2020). We are highly experienced in managing portfolios for charities, with around £2 billion of charitable assets under management.
Our investment philosophy is underpinned by the belief that each client is unique, with individual needs. Accordingly, each client is given a bespoke portfolio designed to meet their risk profile, investment objectives, time horizon and constraints. Strong risk controls underpin everything that we do.
Within this our portfolio construction rests on three key pillars:
1. Quality: fundamentally we view risk as permanent loss of capital and that leads us to a bias towards higher quality companies. Companies with sound balance sheets, healthy cash flow generation, and sustainable business models are more likely to grow their dividends and outperform across the economic cycle. We incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors alongside traditional financial measures when making investments because we believe they are key to determining quality in the medium and long term.
2. Genuine diversification: we don’t look to outperform just in bull markets or just in bear markets, so we adapt what we do to fit where we are in the cycle; however confident we are in our forecasts we maintain well diversified portfolios to balance risks and to preserve capital during unexpected market movements.
3. Liquidity: portfolios need to be flexible in order to adapt to changing economic and market conditions. Illiquid assets can prevent active management and lead to unsuitable portfolios in ‘risk-off’ environments. We look to hold high quality investments which trade on large liquid markets. We regularly assess the liquidity of our portfolios, especially in the fixed interest and alternative sectors.