Planting schemes for
financial growth There are many connections between investing and gardeningthe process starts with a vision, involves patience and nurturing and needs a long-term approach to reap the rewards. John Crowley, chief executive of investment and fund management specialists Hawksmoor Investment Management explains “I have spent much of my career in investment, constructing and managing portfolios of investments for individual private clients, charities, trusts, etc. My wife is a garden designer. Often, when she shows me the planting schemes for the beds in her designs, and when I see the ideas in action in our own garden, I am struck by the similarities with what my colleagues and I do every day. A good planting scheme will be carefully constructed to please the eye and the soul for as much of the year as possible. Unless it’s one of those ‘single species’ ones designed for a particular effect, a bed is likely to contain plants and shrubs in a range of sizes, colours and textures. Each will be intended to complement its neighbours, perhaps with larger shrubs at the rear to act as a backdrop to smaller ones in the front, or a bold, large-leafed plant to set off a delicate one nearby. The colours and textures of the flowers and their foliage will sit harmoniously with each other. While some plants are bursting into bloom, the flowers of others will be fading; while the leaves of spring bulbs begin to tire, others will still be developing.
“Often, when I see the ideas in action in our own garden, I am struck by the similarities with what my colleagues and I do every day.” Even during the winter months, with little growth in evidence, the well-planned border will still provide interest and variety, and crucially will hint at the spring which always will return. An investment manager would recognise a lot of that. Through all the seasons, from the heat and dryness of summer to the cool and wet of winter, a good planting scheme provides ‘returns’ in terms of the pleasure of interesting and satisfying variety. As an investment manager, you don’t want your client’s
portfolio to contain holdings that all ‘point in the same direction’ – for example, that are all likely to fall in value if the FTSE 100 falls. • There will be stocks and funds aimed at doing different things at different times. • There will be ‘equities’ (company shares) from across the various industrial sectors and across the globe. Some are likely to be fast growing, others are more mature, paying a decent and sustainable dividend whatever the market or economic conditions. • Also, there are holdings in ‘bonds’ – i.e., government or company debt securities – which usually deliver returns mainly through a relatively high level of interest income (though UK government securities – gilts – have produced precious little of that recently). • In general, equities and bonds have historically behaved differently from each other in terms of their capital value. However, recent action by central banks to stimulate economies since the financial crisis of 2008-9, through ultra-low interest rates and so called ‘quantitative easing’, have caused that inverse relationship to break down to a degree. So increasingly, portfolios ideally need other ‘diversifiers’, such as property, commodities and funds which aim to make positive returns in all market conditions. In summary, a well-diversified portfolio will contain holdings designed to capture, and ideally beat, the growth of equity market indices, providing reliable, growing income returns. That way, a portfolio is more likely to deliver attractive returns over the longer term whatever the season, whether markets are bathed in summer sunshine or buffeted by winter storms”. Hawksmoor Investment Management specialises in providing discretionary management services for private clients including trusts, pension schemes and charities and has offices in Exeter, London, Taunton, Dorchester and Bury St Edmunds. They are sponsors of the Toby Buckland Garden Festival at Powderham Castle on Friday, 27th and Saturday, 28th April.
The April 2018 issue of Devon Country Gardener Magazine