Following Investment Week's inaugural Trailblazer Awards in June, we speak to a different winner each week regarding some of their greatest achievements and the challenges they have faced over their career.
This week, we chat to Andrew Gilbert, a senior investment manager at Parmenion.
What has been your most successful asset allocation decision so far?
The decision to overweight corporate bonds over the past five years versus government bonds or cash, and to rewind that into gilts from around summer 2018.
Name your top three challenges since starting your role and how you have overcome them
The majority of retail investors are unaware they can invest in ESG, sustainable or ethical strategies in line with their values and preferences.
I pioneered and launched a range of ESG, sustainable and ethical mandates, which are now more than £300m, growing rapidly, and won the Moneyfacts 'Best Ethical DFM' award from a list of about 40 other contenders.
I've met with literally thousands of advisers, either face to face or over calls/webinars, and regularly write articles and attend roadshows to raise awareness across the industry.
I've also designed a whole set of supporting collateral to allow advisers with no specialist knowledge to plug into our range of more than 40 discretionary managed multi-asset strategies, with a range of risk and ethical profiles available to align with their unique client objectives.
Secondly, the average active fund manager underperforms passive funds, net of fees.
I personally designed the spreadsheets, formulae and procedures that run behind the scenes here at Parmenion Investment Management to screen the universe every month, and to look for those managers that consistently add value on a risk-adjusted basis.
These spreadsheets have then been enhanced over the years in order to account for experience and changing market conditions.
Thirdly, email traffic is sky high (I received close to 700 emails when I was away for a week on annual leave recently).
I have addressed this partially by 'grouping' emails by sender, using categories within Outlook to prioritise accordingly, and by sorting through 'deleted folder' to block unwanted senders properly.
I have also scanned through various emails for an 'unsubscribe' button. I've read through numerous topics on 'how to go email free', and while this is tricky in practice, you can certainly make some simple changes to make life easier.
What attracted you to the investment industry?
I completed a lot of career research before applying (including personality testing) and identified that I was a highly analytical, naturally mathematical individual with a clear aptitude for analysing complex problems, managing high workloads, writing reports and meeting or presenting to clients, which seemed naturally suited to the industry.
Also, from studying economics at college and university, I have a keen desire to understand how the world economy, people, systems, technology and culture all works together, and working as an investment manager ensures you always have the latest data.
Finally, I discovered my passion for ESG, sustainable and ethical investing, and have since been continuously seeking new ways to pioneer investments into the space. I like that I can give clients more opportunity and choice to reflect on how they want their money to be managed, and to look after the world around us so we can make a real difference.