Absolute Return • medium
Who we are
Ruffer is a discretionary investment manager with a distinct approach to investment management focussed on capital preservation. It’s by putting safety first that we have made good money for our clients. Through boom and bust. For nearly 25 years. We have delivered this for individuals and families (ISAs, trusts and pensions), institutions and charities, in the UK and internationally.
What we do
People like making money and they hate losing it. Most will hate losing money more than they like making it. This shapes our investment philosophy and the way we invest.
Our approach is conservative, tried and tested. It involves actively managing investments, mainly in conventional assets. We conduct our own research, and operate freely, without restrictive benchmarks.
Our focus is on capital preservation and our twin aims are:
- Not to lose money in any twelve-month period.
- To grow the value of our clients’ assets over the long term, outpacing the alternative of placing cash on deposit.
A different approach to risk
At Ruffer, we think of risk as the prospect of permanently losing your capital. This can happen when markets experience the occasional, but severe shocks they are prone to.
We seek to guard against this risk and avoid the major downturns in markets. By doing so, we can achieve better returns over the long term.
We manage the absolute risk of losing money, not the relative risk of underperforming the stock market – we aim for positive returns in all years regardless of market conditions.
Our investment process
Our starting point when investing is always to consider the prevailing risks and opportunities that we see in financial markets. Our approach is therefore forward-looking and active; we operate without pre-determined benchmarks and are not influenced by market indices.
One of our main aims is to ensure that we are not dependent on the direction of markets. To that end, we seek to create a balance of offsetting investments within every portfolio, with ‘growth’ and ‘protective’ assets held alongside each other. The protective assets should perform well in a downturn and defend the capital value; those in growth should deliver good returns in favourable market conditions.
Our asset allocation is unconstrained. We are free to operate without any of the distortions and constraints that come with measuring performance relative to stock markets. For example, we never own shares in a particular sector just because they form a large part of the index, or because they are currently popular.
Striving to be a responsible investor
At Ruffer we interpret responsible investment as the incorporation of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) considerations throughout our research and investment processes, while behaving as active stewards of our clients’ assets.
We recognise that ESG considerations are important drivers of investment performance, representing both sources of value and investment risks. Therefore, incorporating these considerations into our investment approach forms an essential part of our responsibility to our clients. We believe that investing responsibly will lead to better long-term outcomes for our clients.
Ruffer became a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in January 2016 in order to strengthen our commitment to integrating ESG into our investment approach.
No market timing
In an ideal world, a portfolio would be switched from growth to protection at the top of the market, then reversed again at its trough. In the real world, however, nobody can see into the future and determine exactly when this point will be: market downturns often emerge from blue skies, not grey. Trying to time the market is therefore fraught with danger: switch too early and you miss out on the boom; hang on too long and you get caught up in the bust.
At Ruffer, we attempt to remove the need for market timing by always maintaining a blend of offsetting investments in protection and growth.
Ruffer provides clients with either a segregated or fund portfolio approach, both of which are invested according to Ruffer’s asset allocation.
Segregated portfolios are invested directly in conventional assets such as equities, bonds, currencies and in-house funds. Use of in-house funds will vary depending on client circumstances and may be up to half of portfolio value.
Where a fund approach is used portfolios are invested entirely in one or more in-house funds or predominantly in in-house funds with a selection of directly held securities.
Portfolios are built with the conviction that comes from performing our own research, but they will always include a diversified mix of securities to build the growth and protective positions.
We can offer portfolios in a number of different currencies as listed (with potential for further currencies at request).
Our investment process uses a range of assets in a different way to most managers. We aim to protect and grow the value of our clients’ assets in all market conditions.
Culture of service
In an industry dominated by standardised products, we aim to be distinctive with an ethos of service. Every client of Ruffer has direct access to their dedicated portfolio manager who invests on their behalf and who is on hand to answer any questions – in person, by telephone, email or letter.
Our track record
While past performance is no guarantee of good returns in the future, we have broadly achieved our investment objectives over the past 24 years, delivering consistent returns with low volatility.
Absolute Return • medium
Absolute Return • medium