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Baillie Gifford maverick returns to the market

When John Elkann, chair of Stellantis and scion of the billionaire Agnelli industrial dynasty, was looking to build out an asset management business, he naturally turned to James Anderson for advice.

He had known the maverick fund manager for more than a decade, in various capacities. At Baillie Gifford, where Anderson worked for almost four decades, he was a major shareholder in Exor companies including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ferrari. The pair had regularly attended Sun Valley — the so-called summer camp for billionaires — in Idaho, where they would compare notes on philanthropy, entrepreneurship and what it meant to start and build a company in the 21st century.

The discussions have proved rather fruitful. As my colleague Arash Massoudi and I reveal in this scoop, the Agnelli family holding company is backing Anderson’s return to full-time investing a year after retiring from Baillie Gifford.

Lingotto Investment Management, a new $3bn firm that is owned by Exor, has appointed Anderson to its team of investors. He will launch a new fund focused on innovation in both public and private markets, starting with about $500mn in assets.

Elkann told us that his vision for Lingotto was to “provide a home for very talented investment management professionals to join a place which is entrepreneurial and much focused on letting them do what they’re good at and what they love”. 

Lingotto is named after the historic Fiat factory in Turin, which was inaugurated in 1923. (Remember its rooftop racetrack that featured in the 1969 film The Italian Job?) It will be chaired by George Osborne, the former UK chancellor who is now a banker at boutique advisory firm Robey Warshaw.

Anderson had a stellar tenure running Baillie Gifford’s flagship Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust before a well-timed exit last year. Its performance has soured since then, as the march of growth stocks that are its bread and butter was curbed by higher interest rates.

He acknowledged that “it’s been a difficult 18 months” for growth investing, but said the long-term opportunity in sectors including artificial intelligence, healthcare and renewable energy was greater than ever. Anderson said:

“One of the great puzzles to me is that markets have become so sceptical and short-term at a time when the pace of innovation and change, and the prospects of returns over five, 10 and 20 years, has got greater than less.” 

But he has, for now, reluctantly tempered his enthusiasm for investing in China. Anderson said: “Despite the quality of entrepreneurs and businesses we see there, a reconciliation between the US and China seems a long way off and that has implications for investors.” 

Read the full story here 

Meanwhile, catch up on the Lunch with the FT I did with Anderson last year here. And if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend this fascinating biographical documentary about Elkann’s grandfather Gianni Agnelli, legendary industrialist, playboy and style icon.

The ‘force of nature’ named Man Group CEO

When Robyn Grew was working for Lehman Brothers in London in 1999, Japanese regulators raided the bank as part of an investigation into accusations that it and others had helped financial institutions conceal losses.

Grew was quickly dispatched to Tokyo by Lehman’s top brass to help deal with the bank’s response. She spent the next year flying back and forth between the two capital cities, eventually moving there with her wife for a stint.

The episode reflects several traits that close associates say define Grew: a quick thinker and a natural problem solver, as I explore in this profile of the gregarious former barrister.

Last week she was named incoming chief executive of Man Group, the world’s largest listed hedge fund manager with $144.7bn in assets under management. By the end of this year — and for the first time since it began life in the sugar industry in the late 18th century — Man will be led by two women.

Robyn Grew, the new chief executive of Man Group
Robyn Grew, the new chief executive of Man Group © Christopher Appoldt 2022

Grew will replace longstanding chief Luke Ellis in September, and former Capital International executive Anne Wade is taking over from investment banker John Cryan as chair.

For 54-year-old Grew, currently the president of Man, the promotion marks the culmination of a 14-year career at the FTSE 250 group that she joined in 2009 as its chief compliance officer. Since then she has held a variety of executive positions in compliance, trading legal and operations.

“I’ve seen her in various avatars . . . she’s quite a force of nature,” said Dev Sanyal, chief executive of Varo Energy and a former non-executive director at Man. “She has a strong compass about who she is and what she does.”

Grew played a central role in Man’s turnround and recovery following its acquisition of GLG Partners for $1.6bn in 2010. It was dubbed a reverse takeover, later written down by more than $1bn and its aftermath was marked by a testing period.

Grew inherits a business in good shape that has evolved from a siloed organisation to a large technology-driven investment group. But she still faces challenges.

Man has set out its stall on being an active investment group, an approach that faces continuous pressure from cheaper passive investing. It must expand in the US and stay relevant to investors in a world where the hedge fund industry is becoming more and more concentrated. And it must navigate an increasingly complex and politicised environment for ESG investing.

For Grew personally, she must put her own mark on the group after two high-profile chief executives. “Manny and Luke have been at the forefront of the industry,” said Sanyal. “What does Man Group under Robyn look like?”

Read the full profile here

Chart of the week

Column chart of mn ounces showing China now holds most of the world's platinum stocks

The platinum market is expected to chalk up its largest deficit since records began in the 1970s as supply falters in South Africa and China’s industrial expansion powers ahead, writes Harry Dempsey in London.

Global platinum demand is forecast to surge 28 per cent this year to 8.2mn ounces after investors piled in, adding to strong industrial consumption and increasing use of the metal in car catalytic converters in the first quarter, according to the World Platinum Investment Council, an industry body.

At the same time, ailing output, exacerbated by stuttering electricity supply in top producer South Africa, has pushed the WPIC to revise its deficit forecast up 77 per cent from three months ago, to 983,000 ounces this year.

“It would be a record deficit in ounces since records going back to the 1970s,” said Edward Sterck, director of research at WPIC. He added that the last time that 12 per cent of demand could not be met by new supply and recycling was 1999.

Five unmissable stories this week

Howard Marks, the co-founder of $172bn investment group Oaktree Capital Management, has warned that the boom in private credit will soon be tested as higher interest rates and slower economic growth heap pressure on corporate America.

Big investors have sounded the alarm over the record-breaking rush of company share buybacks, warning the exercise may do little to help shareholders and can be “manipulated” by corporate executives to boost bonuses.

Jon Gray, president of Blackstone, says the alternatives giant is in discussions with large US regional banks about providing them with extra firepower to lend to companies amid signs the recent industry turmoil is morphing into a credit crunch.

Bruce Flatt, chief executive of Brookfield Asset Management, is predicting consolidation in the private capital industry as challenging financial markets force smaller participants to find homes inside larger institutions, causing a handful of industry giants to emerge.

Shares in Icahn Enterprises fell as much as 20 per cent after it revealed federal prosecutors in New York had contacted the company seeking information on its business, including corporate governance, valuations and due diligence.

And finally

I recently discovered the Bath House near London’s Victoria. Alongside the traditional banya experience (think hot saunas, cold plunge pools and bundles of birch, oak and eucalyptus twigs), there’s a retro eastern European café where you can enjoy pickled vegetables, potato dumplings and shots of ice-cold vodka. (Very good for circulation apparently . . .)

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