How much longer do you want to carry on running Independent? GL: But the share price has been phenomenal, I think it’s up 185% so far this year. Now think of all the big financial institutions you know of that have legacy systems that don’t speak to each other and think of the number of people who are sitting in front of keyboards taking information from one system, processing it and putting it into another. And have been in the past. GL One of your biggest successes lately has been Blue Prism. GL: A phenomenal stock. Reveals a motivation to outlive his father, a former Gerrards stockbroker; Explains what happens to Independent when he is gone. Max Ward: I want to outlive my dear old Dad By Gavin Lumsden 22 Dec, 2017 At 68 star fund manager Max Ward is on the top of his game and showing no sign of slowing down.

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Your long-term performance has been great on Independent.

My wife is very jumpy. All Rights Reserved. So we have run it pretty aggressively and it is today one our five biggest holdings.

MW: The thing I think more often about than anything else is the need to be different. But on a visit to Citywire after his Independent (IIT) investment trust scooped one of our first performance awards last month, Ward was in the mood to reflect on a long and successful career. It can do this much more quickly than a human being, it can do it much more efficiently than a human being. Does Fevertree, a completely different company, sector or business – does that pose a similar challenge in as much as its shares are up over 1,000% in the past five years? Register to get unlimited access to our investor forum and all editorial content, including our e-zine and weekly email. MW: I have. Google allows users to search the Web for images, news, products, video, and other content. GL: But you’ve been adding to that with direct investments. GL: You’re obviously still clearly enjoying life and the job of a fund manager. I've been doing this since we first started dating.

The trouble with a company like Blue Prism is that the fundamentals are changing so dramatically, so quickly that your concept of its fair value has to change very often and very dramatically. MW: That’s something else I should have mentioned when you asked me about the lessons of being at Baillie Gifford. GL: I mentioned that you used to run Scottish Mortgage which is the biggest investment trust in the UK. MW: Well, I don’t think you can protect the downside but what you can do – and I think the big lesson I’ve learned from the financial crisis – is to look far more closely at balance sheets. We use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. We both get a kick out of it..... Don't worry, She gets me back. Our old PO Box is up and running! From my perspective, and I’m not a great expert on robotic process automation which is what the field is called. By your continued use of this site you accept such use. So as the long-term trend in markets is upwards I’ve learned that I need to stay bullish. The vast majority of the time it can do it more cheaply than a human being. To change your settings please, Max Ward: I want to outlive my dear old Dad, Investment Trust Watch: Independent premium warning, Independent's Max Ward: I never imagined a year like this. He died in full harness at the age of 70 so I certainly want to keep going for another couple of years and I’d like to go on years after that. MW: We have taken some profits in it but then we reinvested. If you would like to, you can find out more about cookies and managing them at any time, We use cookies to improve your experience. Distills the lessons from his time at Baillie Gifford and Independent: Speaks frankly about his 'horrendous' time in the financial crisis; Assesses the challenges of investing in hot growth stocks like. Investment trust statistics: © Morningstar 2020. Very impressive. GL: Absolutely. MW: After a bit of a lag. I still get a huge buzz out of going into work, I like to think I can still compete at this level. At 68 star fund manager Max Ward is on the top of his game and showing no sign of slowing down. Gavin Lumsden: Hello with me today is Max Ward, managing director of the Independent investment trust which was winner of Citywire’s first UK All Companies Performance Award last month. GL: And your thoughts on the role of the active fund manager? You can continue to use the website and we'll assume that you are happy to receive cookies. © 2020 You’re 68. GL: I’m interested in your attitude to technology because you’re not averse. We are as human beings herd animals and the temptation is to just stay with the herd. You’re continuing to hold are you? So if you start out trying to value Fevertree on the basis of brokers’ estimates of earnings you’re always going to feel that it’s overvalued. So what I try to do is not so much second-guess the brokers on this year’s earnings but try to think where Fevertree might be in five or 10 years’ time. I was really too cautious for several years after the crisis which is inevitable when you get beaten up as badly as that by markets. It seemed inappropriate to duplicate or at least to that extent. Max Ward: I think the first lesson I’ve learned Gavin is that I’m no good at judging short-term market movements. GL: Is there a happy middle ground of being bullish, leaving yourself open to these great potentials, and protecting the downside? GL: And just accept the fact that there are events like the financial crisis, that you might not be in the best position for them? Thanks for watching! What will happen when I’m no longer willing or able to do it is that shareholders will be given a choice of taking their money in cash or rolling over into some vehicle chosen by the board which will allow them to roll forward their capital gains. MW: They design and rent out software for robots. Please sign in or register to comment. One of the reasons we cut back our holding in Herald is we found ourselves with an increasing overlap with their portfolio. GL: And you still have a decent slug of the fund. Citywire Investment Trust Awards: the winners! And at the time shareholders were told that in the event that I was no longer able or willing to run the fund, it would be given a decent burial. GL: The financial crisis was tough for you. MW: There will undoubtedly be market environments in which I will be embarrassed. Who would succeed you at Independent? Registration is free and only takes a minute.

MW: Well when we floated the Independent it was very much floated as a vehicle for me to manage other people’s money. All rights reserved. What do you think of the way it’s been run in the modern era? And one of the lessons I’ve learned is never say never about anything. GL: Ok Max, so they’re investing with you and that’s it. View limitations & usage restriction. So there are no succession plans. MW: I’m full of admiration for what James [Anderson] and Tom [Slater] have done. You’ve been doing it a very long time, you’ve worked with great people at Baillie Gifford, you used to manage Scottish Mortgage Trust in the 90s; you’ve helped oversee both Neil Woodford and recently Mark Barnett on Edinburgh investment trust where you are a non-executive director; you’ve been investing for many, many years in Herald investment trust, a technology fund run by Katie Potts. I think lots of people like myself know that it’s done very well, but are a bit less clear what it actually does. MW: Exactly. You like investing in the house builders and traditional sectors like that, but you’re not averse to investing in technology yourself. The past 10 years have seen annualised returns from the portfolio of 15%. My wife is very jumpy.

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