A Day in the Life of an IRO – Danyal Hussain, VP of IR at ADP.

Automatic Data Processing (ADP) is a $97 bn human resources management software company listed on Nasdaq. Danyal Hussain joined the firm in 2018 as senior director of IR, becoming vice president and head of IR in February 2020.
Prior to that, he was a vice president on the equity research team at Morgan Stanley, covering payment and processing names as well as fintech stocks. Before that, he co-founded the power generation consultancy Asyad Energy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He also worked at Ernst & Young and Johnson & Johnson. He has an MBA in finance from NYU Stern School of Business and a BS in accounting from Rutgers University.

Matthew Keating, senior director of IR, joined ADP in 2022. In July 2024, Hussain will become senior vice president of financial planning and analysis, while Keating will assume the role of vice president of IR.

How has ADP changed since you started working there?

From day one, we were involved in a high-profile proxy fight (Pershing Square held a stake in ADP from 2017 until 2019). That was a catalyst for a lot of change within the company and how we engage with our shareholders so that’s one major change I’ve experienced over these six years.
Separately, we now have more public competitors than ever and more analysts who cover our sector. And the third change I would point to is how we engage with investors, because I joined with an outside perspective; previous IROs had come from within ADP. We’ve taken a more proactive approach to engaging with both our sell-side analysts and our investors in terms of our willingness to participate in conferences and roadshows, as well as being more ‘out there’ as active participants in the capital markets.

Technically, ADP is now classified in the industrials or business services sector rather than technology – is this an issue?

It’s a recent change and it drives me mad. The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) sector we sit in changed a year ago: the logic was that everyone wants to be a tech company or wants to be valued as a tech company, so ultimately what the GICS committee tried to do was push companies out of tech to align with the end-markets they serve. Because ADP serves all companies, it classified us in the professional services/business services sector, which sits within industrials.
One of the challenges we’ve always had with ADP is that we have a unique business model and for a long time we were one of only two public companies in this space. Therefore, we don’t fit cleanly in any coverage universe. We were always a hybrid of payments and software services. We are almost under-covered by the folks who really get deep on any one sector. It’s been a challenge for us for a long time.
It’s changed a little in the last few years, as the analysts who cover us now tend to be more software or tech-oriented. A large part of that is because software has become such a large universe that now you have more teams [covering it] and they can go deeper on subsectors, like human capital management in our case. Also, we now have more public competitors. So it’s getting better, but we are still covered by a hodgepodge of analysts with different levels of expertise.

How do you convince investors that ADP is worth its premium or valuation?

That’s a tough argument to counter as it is subjective. There is no clear set of comparisons you can use for ADP. A simple analysis versus, for example, the S&P 500 is a good place to start. Historically, ADP has always had a premium valuation in the market relative to other companies of similar growth profile. Therefore, investors have shown they’re willing to pay that premium as long as we can maintain our growth profile and all the other characteristics that people have come to appreciate about us: transparency, quality, good governance, and so on. And we are firmly committed to all of those. Usually, convincing a new investor that we are worthy does take time. Investors have to understand why this company has always traded at a premium and continues to do so.

What do you say to those who perceive ADP as a sleepy 75-year-old company?

In our history, there have been parts of our business that absolutely needed to be overhauled and reinvented, but you don’t become a 75-year-old company in a competitive industry without being able to reinvent yourself. Another change is that we now have a few key public competitors that like to talk loudly about how they’re doing versus ADP, which is something we have addressed – and have done so well – in recent years. The other thing we now do is demonstrate just how far our products have come. Investors want to know what the products look and feel like, and how they differ from competitors’ products, so demos validate what we’re saying and, when we do that, investors tend to be very impressed. The onus is on us to be able to go out and show investors that our products are not 75 years old; in many cases they’re only a few years old and may be on the most modern product and technology stack within the market. We create value by making a product that enables HR practitioners and personnel to function day to day.

How important is it to you to be a ‘dividend aristocrat’ – a company that pays a consistent and growing dividend?

This year, if all goes well and our board approves a dividend increase in November, we will hit 50 years of consecutive dividend increases, which would make us a dividend king or queen [a company with at least 50 years of growing dividend payments]. When we hit that milestone, we will be the first technology company to have such enduring and consistent growth.

How has having a new CEO and CFO impacted your IR activities?

I’ve been fortunate enough to help bring on two CFOs and one CEO. I think the opportunity is greatest when you’re bringing in an outsider because there’s an opportunity to help explain a large, complex business like ADP, which takes everybody a while to grasp. Those who already know ADP incredibly well need to learn how to better interact with investors and sell-siders and specifically how to articulate things in a way that will appeal to stakeholders. It’s almost more of an executive coach role.

Why do you think ADP has such a strong culture?

I think it comes both from the top end (CEO and board level) and from the core of what we do. And the average tenure of a CEO is 10 years, which helps. Also, we are fortunate in that we deliver something for the world that is unambiguously good. We help companies with something that is noble, which is to help them be better employers for their workers, and our associates know that what they’re doing creates value in the world. We all feel good about what we do, and we all operate in a client-centric organization. We know that if we don’t deliver an excellent experience for our clients, we won’t win in the market. I think a client-centric culture attracts a certain type of personality that is just a joy to work with. So from the bottom up we have tens of thousands of people who take joy in delivering value for clients; from the top down, we have been fortunate to have leaders who are empathetic and visionary and stick around for long enough to see their vision through.

How are you handling Matt’s transition to a vice president of IR role?

Well, the good news is I’m not leaving the company. I’ll be around to help Matt as much as he needs me. Also, Matt has worked in IR – both within ADP and externally – and is very experienced, so we expect the transition to be as seamless as it can possibly be.

This interview appeared in IR Magazine.

Liontrust – London

Liontrust was launched in 1995 and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1999. Today, there are seven teams that invest in global equities, sustainable investment, global fixed income, and multi- asset. A third of Liontrust’s AuMA is in sustainable investment. There is no single house view. AUM are $27.8 billion as at 31 December 2023. The firm is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI).

The Liontrust GF Sustainable Future US Growth Fund was launched in July 2023 and is managed by Chris Foster, Simon Clements, and Peter Michaelis. It is an Article 9 fund and focuses on 35 – 55 stocks.

Chris Foster joined Liontrust in April 2017 as part of the acquisition of Alliance Trust Investments (ATI). Chris had initially joined ATI through the management training programme after graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Edinburgh. Chris is a CFA Charterholder. Chris has ten years’ industry experience and has been part of the Liontrust Sustainable Investment team for eight years.

Co-fund managers Simon Clements and Peter Michaelis also joined Liontrust in April 2017. Prior to managing funds at ATI for five years, Simon spent 12 years at Aviva Investors where latterly he was Head of Global Equities. Peter has managed Sustainable and Responsible Investment portfolios for over 20 years and was previously Head of Sustainable and Responsible Investment at Aviva Investments.

In recent years, Liontrust has made a number of acquisitions such as Majedie and Neptune, how are acquisitions integrated?
Each team is very much independent from the rest of the organisation. Our team joined in April
2017 and has been kept as a separate team to those other acquisitions. We don’t have a CIO and we don’t have a house view. It’s been very seamless for us – the support services we get from Liontrust, the sales, the marketing, the compliance, the risk, the performance stuff and all the distribution is unchanged.

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IR at K – John Renwick, VP Investor Relations & Corporate Planning at Kellanova

John Renwick, VP of Investor Relations & Corporate Planning at Kellanova (formerly Kellogg) has spent 23 years at the company. He initially joined in 2000 as VP of IR & Competitive Analysis and then held a number of operational roles in – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Toronto, Canada, Queretaro Area, Mexico before returning to Battle Creek, MI and reprising and expanding his role as VP of IR & Corporate Planning in 2016.

Asked how he got his initial role at Kellogg, John was a sell-side analyst at Morgan Stanley, covering packaged food stocks. He was roadshowing Kellogg’s C-suite around Europe when, at the end of the trip, the CFO said “I have a crazy idea” and asked him if he wanted to become Kellogg’s IRO. John was taken by surprise, initially saying “I’m a New Yorker, my wife’s a Jersey girl, and we barely knew where Michigan was!” However, intrigued to see what life was like “on the inside” of a food company, he took the role, thinking he’d be back on Wall Street in two years. Continue reading

Rathbones Group – London

Rathbones Group is a leading, independent provider of investment and wealth management
services for private investors, charities and trustees, including discretionary investment
management. In September 2023, Rathbone and Investec Wealth & Investment UK
combined – creating the UK’s leading discretionary wealth manager with $125 billion of
funds under management and administration. Within the group, Rathbone Investment
Management (discretionary management) are fundamental investors who combine top-
down asset allocation and sector analysis with stock-picking.

Sanjiv Tumkur joined Rathbone Investment Management in 2016 as Head of Equity Research, becoming Head of Equities in 2022. He is responsible for developing and promoting
Rathbones’ equity investment philosophy and process. He joined from Investec Wealth where he was a member of the Research team and provided equity analysis and recommendations to the firm’s investment managers. After reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University, Sanjiv spent nine years at Morgan Grenfell. He then spent three years at AllianceBernstein.

How have things changed since the merger?
Post-completion, we are working to align Rathbones’ and IWI UK’s approaches, looking at
both organisations and incorporating the best from each. We are similar businesses, with
similar client bases and client objectives, and we are excited about the opportunity to create
the UK’s leading discretionary wealth manager. Continue reading

Pyrford International – London

Pyrford International, founded in 1987, is an investment boutique that operates independently within Columbia Threadneedle Investments. Pyrford is a provider of global asset
management services for collective investment funds, investment management companies,
local and state bodies, pension schemes, endowments and foundations. Its investment
approach is rooted in capital preservation and its strategies include global absolute return,
global equity and international equity.

Suhail Arain is head of portfolio management for the Americas. He joined Pyrford in 2008 as a portfolio manager covering North American equities having previously worked at Scottish Widows as a global equities portfolio manager and research analyst. He has more than 25 years’ experience in the asset management industry with a particular emphasis on US and
global equities.

Arain graduated from King’s College, London with a degree in law and completed a masters in finance from London Business School. He also holds the CFA designation and has held positions at KPMG, Hambros Merchant Bank, Prudential and ABP Investments.

Pyrford is owned by Columbia Threadneedle. Do you operate independently?
We operate independently of Columbia Threadneedle so nothing has changed for us in terms
of our investment process or our clients.

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AXA Investment Management – London

David Shaw is co-head of global equities at AXA Investment Management. He also manages the Global Sustainable Distribution Fund, co-manages the Global Sustainable Managed Fund and is deputy on the American Growth fund. He joined AXA in 2016 from Aerion Fund Management (2000-2016). Before this he worked at NPI, NatWest Investment Management and United Friendly Asset Management. He was educated at City University and has a BSc (Hons), Electronic Engineering.

AXA IM is part of France’s AXA Group, a global leader in insurance and asset management with AUM of $916 billion. AXA IM traces its roots back to 1994 and today is present in 22 offices in 18 countries. The firm is an active, long-term, global, multi-asset investor. AXA’s primary equity management operations are Paris and London. The London office runs a number of global equity funds including a number of thematic and geographic funds.

Equity AUM in London and Paris?
$61 billion in equities.

What’s the equity AUM figure for London?
$36 billion.

How do London and Paris co-operate?
Paris is predominantly European equities, the global small cap team, the convertibles team and the multi-asset team. London manages sector specific funds such as technology, healthcare, Thematic and regional funds such as The American Growth Fund as well as a number of global funds. Many of the sector specialist fund are quite US-centric given their technology/healthcare skew. If you note that >60% of the MSCI is US, then we have higher exposure to US equities. But I wouldn’t want to put people off visiting Paris. We do collaborate and often share ideas with the global small cap team in Paris, for example.

In terms of collaboration, we have two formal meetings a week – one with a regional focus and the other is more thematic/sector specific. Teams from London, Paris and Hong Kong share thoughts. We do a good job of getting the London and Paris teams to collaborate. Names from the American Growth may also be held in the global small cap fund.

Which screens do you use?
Fund managers have a lot of personal autonomy. We tend to look for quality growth. Some strategies are more GARP while others are out and out growth. (We hold a few names that are still unprofitable but working towards it, companies with innovative, breakthrough technologies).

Do you use benchmarks?
Yes – most strategies have an appropriate benchmark. We are benchmark aware, not benchmark driven.

Active share?
Most portfolios hold 40-60 stocks, so our active share ranges between 60 – 70% dependent on the fund.

Minimum market cap?
Around $1 billion – Small cap team would be lower.

Average position size and largest?
Largest – we would have exposure to Apple even if it is underweight for our US funds. So that would be our largest holding without being an active bet. A typical active weight is 100 BP above the benchmark.

Average length of a holding?
4-5 years+. A couple of names in my US portfolio we’ve held for 6 – 7 years. We buy and hold where companies are executing well. We want to be long term investors, and invest in companies that grow and develop. However, fund managers may trade around a position so will trim if sentiment is overly optimistic.

Geographic allocation?
>60% in US. A lot of the global/specialist strategies are heavily exposed to the US e.g. our healthcare and technology funds.

Sector allocation?
We pay attention to sector allocation but look for good organic innovative, growth names. Some sectors such as healthcare, technology and consumer discretionary in the US are good places for innovation and new ideas. Sectors where you don’t see much innovation and growth are, for example, financials, utilities and energy and we are typically underweight these sectors.

How does the team split sectors and geographies?
We do have our technology and healthcare specialists, but fund managers are attracted to certain sectors by the nature of their investment style. Steve Kelly and I tend to focus our attention on Healthcare, Technology and Consumer.

61% of assets are ESG integrated, how is ESG integrated into the investment process?
We have a large Responsible Investment team (more than 30 people) which supports the whole business, not just equities. In addition, there is a team of 7 ESG & Impact analysts who work more closely with the equity team. We have an Impact Fund range as well as dedicated ESG funds (our ACT range). The sustainable funds that I’m involved in all have a high degree of ESG integration. The sustainable funds look for companies that can deliver sustainable opportunities including environmental or social progress. As growth investors, we are looking for businesses of the future and they normally align well with ESG. Younger businesses take those responsibilities more seriously.

Discuss some holdings and why you invested?
Mondelez – bought it for my US funds in 2016 and still hold it. The weighting has increased as my confidence in the growth dynamics and management has grown over time. When I first bought it, I didn’t have much exposure to consumer staples. It was one of the better food producers, with faster growing categories. It was growing slower than its overall category due to a focus on margins that was stifling growth. The management transition of 2018 has gone well, and Dirk and Luca were very early in transitioning from a cost focus to looking for more
growth. They also moved away from the traditional US centralised Chicago HQ to a more decentralised localised management style where local offices have a say on sales’ strategies and product development. So, growth is now in line, and they have managed to keep within their margin framework.

Food producers can face challenges and our Responsible Investment (RI) team have been a huge help in this regard. We, as a firm, wanted to learn more about deforestation and so our RI team had a meeting with Mondelez about how they ensure their suppliers are not involved in deforestation. Overall we felt that Mondelez are ahead of their peers. While we would like them to do more, it is good to have the back up of RI team and they came away with good outcome from their engagement.

NextEra – the only US utility that we own. We own it in our global portfolios, as well as some US funds. They are forward thinking, and it has delivered the best organic growth amongst US utilities, partly due to its innovative early adoption of renewable energy. And being based in Florida helps (population growth). NextEra has more organic growth than most US utilities. It is also very well positioned due to its renewables exposure in terms of ESG. Their target is “real zero” – by 2045 – 100% renewable energy generation – and they are well on way to achieving it.

Chipotle – My colleague, Steve Kelly, first invested over a decade ago for the American Growth Fund. It has a combination of organic growth via new store expansion and menu innovation. (It has a simple menu so it can add in one or two new ideas). It has some of the best unit dynamics in the quick service industry in US. Covid gave them the opportunity to develop their digital offering – on-line or take away and they’ve been very successful there. 2023 sales are forecast to be 80% higher than in 2019. So, they have managed to grow very strongly for last 3 – 4 years and there are still some things they can do better. Productivity is probably not as high as should be as they have a number of new hires who take time to get faster at making burritos, for example.

Dexcom – another >10 year holding. Great example of a holding that started with one team and other teams have become interested. It started out as a holding in the American Growth Fund, and it is now widely held on our Thematic funds, our healthcare funds, Global funds and the convertible team owns the convertible. So cross pollination of ideas leads to more teams owning it. Holdings of names that execute on the long term growth strategy, do snowball as fund managers hear the story, and it becomes a major holding across the firm. Dexcom is
the creator of the continuous glucose monitoring industry. Innovation keeps coming, making the product smaller, making the sensor last longer etc. It improves health outcomes and users are big fans.

Chart Industries – a newer name we recently added. I met the company properly in November 2021. The business has changed in recent years. Their core business and expertise are in gas compression and liquification technology. In the last 3-4 years, management has transitioned the business away from the legacy LNG business and is growing in hydrogen, biomass, carbon capture and storage. So, from fossils fuels to fuels of the future. We originally added it to the US funds and now it is in convertibles and global small caps as well as we’ve spoken to other teams about it.

Do you like to meet management?
Yes, but it can be hard work to carve out time to prepare for a meeting and we do like to do our homework. We like to check market expectations, and gain comfort from management as we are looking to be long term holders. We want a company to meet/exceed long term guidance. We want to understand what levers a company has if things don’t go as expected.

Preferred method of meeting management?
1/1s generally – with a popular name you could have 4-5 PMs joining the meeting from Axa IM. Group meetings can be productive though as sometimes another investor takes a different angle that you hadn’t appreciated. We prefer face to face meetings if possible. And we like companies to be consistent. It is frustrating if a company comes over and starts to build interest and then don’t come back. Year 1 our US specialist may see it, year 2 – a chance to get the company in front of a few more colleagues. Just because we are an existing holder, it doesn’t
mean the position couldn’t be increased (by other funds internally).

Any companies that stand out as particularly good at IR and why?
Tractor Supply stands out, it’s a fairly recent addition to both my GARP US portfolio and the Global Sustainable Fund. They are good at explaining the business mix and the cyclicality. Mary Winn Pilkington (Investor Relations) does a good job of explaining the different parts of the business and management are quite forthcoming.

Brunswick – we like how IR tries to frame the business. Some look at its history and how it performed during the Global Financial Crisis, but the business is now very different as the growth in Mercury engines business has reduced its cyclicality. They’ve downsized the pure boat business so that is now only 30% of revenues. Engines and accessories are the lion’s share and is more a repeat business so less cyclical.

Why should companies meet you?
We are genuinely long term and positions can be increased across numerous funds, even convertibles.

What are the major changes you’ve seen during your tenure in investment management?
Information flow has increased massively – in both detail and complexity. However, the fundamentals remain the same – if you buy a company with good organic, innovative ideas you tend to get rewarded. And you have to keep evolving and building on skills learned elsewhere.

This interview appeared in the recent digital edition of IR Magazine

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Pacific Asset Management – London

Pacific Asset Management (PAM) is an independent asset manager based in London.  PAM’s investment teams manage global assets in excess of $4.4 billion. PAM’s single manager Craft
Investment approach offers strategies where investment skill and experience have proven to
outperform, by focusing on markets that are less efficient, whilst their multi-asset teams provide technology enabled and innovate risk targeted fund ranges. PAM is committed to sustainable investing and offers a range of sustainable multi-asset portfolios, as well as an Article 8, global long only Longevity & Social Change fund.

Dani Saurymper is the Portfolio Manager in Pacific’s Longevity and Social Change team. Prior to joining PAM in July 2021, Dani worked at AXA where he was Portfolio Manager of the AXA Framlington Longevity Economy fund. He was also Portfolio Manager of the AXA Framlington Health Fund and research lead for Health, Ageing & Lifestyle at AXA Framlington. Dani has over 20 years experience in the Healthcare sector.

Julia Varesko is a Senior Analyst in Pacific’s Longevity and Social Change Team. Prior to joining PAM in September 2021, Julia was a senior analyst covering diversified financials at JP Morgan. She has also held roles at Elsworthy Capital and Berenberg Bank as well as a prior period at JP Morgan where she spent six years covering the Capital Goods sector. Julia is a CFA Charterholder and holds an MSc in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics and a BSc in Economics from University College London.

AUM in the fund?

Currently $50 million as the fund was only launched in late October/early November 2021. We have lofty ambitions and believe the capacity for a fund such as ours could be at least $1 billion.

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Robeco – Rotterdam

Robeco is one of Europe’s largest asset managers with more than $200 bn in assets under management. Founded in 1929, just weeks after the Wall Street Crash, by seven Rotterdam businessmen who formed a syndicate to invest people’s savings and manage money collectively, it was called the Rotterdamsch Beleggings Consortium, later shortened to Robeco.

The multinational firm is a research-driven active manager, renowned for its sustainability investing. In the US, it owns Harbor Capital Advisors and Boston Partners Asset Management, and acquired Sustainable Asset Management in Zurich in the 2000s. Robeco’s ‘investment engineers’ routinely integrate sustainability factors into their entire range of equity and fixed-income strategies and their investment style is bottom-up stock selection with top-down checks.

The Robeco Sustainable Global Stars Equities Fund has been investing worldwide since 1929, making it the oldest existing fund in the Netherlands. Today it has $5 bn in assets under management and both a 5-Star and 5-Globe ESG Morningstar rating. Oliver Attwater joined Robeco in September 2021 and works alongside five other portfolio managers on the Sustainable Global Stars Equities Fund.

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DECALIA – Geneva

Roberto Magnatantini joined DECALIA in 2020. He is lead portfolio manager of DECALIA Silver Generation and DECALIA Eternity funds. Before joining DECALIA, Roberto was Head of Global Equities at SYZ Asset Management, where he spent 12 years managing two strategies for the OYSTER funds’ franchise. Before that, he worked four years at Lombard Odier and four years at HSBC where he managed equity funds. He is a CFA and CMT charter holder and holds a ESG certification from PRI.

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Geneva, DECALIA SA is a fast-growing independent
investment management company, managing private and institutional assets. As of December 2021, it has $5 billion (4.9 bn CHF) AUM and 60+ employees, focusing on three activities: Wealth Management, Asset Management and Private Markets. DECALIA has expanded rapidly, thanks to its active-management experience built up over the last 30 years by its founders. The firm’s investment philosophy is based on several fundamental principles: stringent risk management, capital preservation, an active management style and selection of the best talent. They focus on developing investment solutions in four key investment themes: long-term trends, quest for yield, disintermediation of banking sector, inefficiencies in Europe. DECALIA are signatories of PRI and included in Article 8 of SFDR.

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AllianceBernstein – Copenhagen

Klaus Ingemann, co-CIO, joined AB in 2014 as Portfolio Manager and Senior Research Analyst and was promoted to Co-Chief Investment Officer of Global Core Equity in 2018. He previously served as an executive member of the investment board at CPH Capital, which he co-founded in 2011. Prior to that, Klaus was chief portfolio manager and a member of the investment board at BankInvest. He previously worked as a corporate finance advisor for Carnegie Bank and before that, spent four years in the finance department at Tele Danmark. He holds a BSc in business administration and an MSc in finance and accounting from the Copenhagen Business School and is a CFA charterholder.

AllianceBernstein (AB) worldwide has $779 billion AUM, 51 locations and 4,050 employees, including 352 investment professionals.  The Copenhagen office has AUM of $21 billion. AB Copenhagen, was founded in 2014, when CPH Capital (founded 2010), was acquired by AB. The Copenhagen-based investment team manages its investments autonomously but gains access to AB’s broad global reach. AB Copenhagen manages global equity portfolios for both retail and institutional clients from around the world.

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