As featured in Emerging Manager Monthly
MayTech Global Investments launched in January 2017 with a nine-year track record on its global equity strategy—but now three years into opening their own firm, Co-Founders Nels Wangensteen and Ingrid Yin see the value in its organizational track record. “I think there is some magic around having been around three years now and growing and thriving that people can take more confidence in MayTech as a firm,” Wangensteen said. The confidence of MayTech’s initial clients helped the firm launch with $100 million, a figure that has now grown to over $250 million. “They allowed us to think very long term and they also helped us, their support allowed us to build a great infrastructure,” Yin said.
The long-term focus was key for the firm as it worked to introduce its high conviction strategy to the institutional marketplace following its lift out from Integre Asset Management. “We were fortunate enough that we have a strong client base to begin with that made us profitable from the very beginning, but if you are going into the institutional space, you need to have the wherewithal to last because the lead times for generating business are so long,” Wangensteen said.
“It is not only about generating investment returns with a new firm, it is actually the survival of the firm itself as a business,” he added. “Institutional investors, when you launch a new firm, are concerned with the firm itself. Certainly, they don’t want to put their money with someone that will go out of business in a year.” With the assistance of third-party marketing firm Arrow Partners, MayTech has begun to find traction with allocators. “We’ve begun to be approved on platforms and we are beginning to bring in some business on the institutional side,” Wangensteen said, noting that the firm was recently hired to sub-advise the emerging markets portion of a multi-manager fund.
The firm also expects to garner more traction with allocators focusing on diverse managers when it becomes 51% women- and minority-owned this year.
“There seems to be, from what we can tell, a lot of demand for product in [the MWBE space], which is of course motivating us. And quite frankly, we have a really strong investment product with a great history of returns and a great strategy, and so I think across that space there is probably demand for good investment product that meets the criteria of minority or women owned,” Wangensteen said.
The firm’s performance will also play a key part in interest moving forward. The global equity strategy, which has 20 to 30 holdings, has an annualized return of 24.89% gross for three-year period ending Dec. 31, compared to 12.45% by the MSCI ACWI Index. Since its June 2008 inception, the strategy has a gross return of 15.58%, compared to 5.49% for the index.
“The strong returns have really been a function of our continued focus on these big secular trends that have been driving growth and change in the global economy,” Wangensteen said. The firm, which also added Research Analyst Stephen Harris over the summer, has focused on key trends such as the emergence of new consumers on the global stage, advances in healthcare related to an aging population and the use of technology to drive down the costs of distributing and the expansion of distribution of healthcare.
“Looking out through 2020 or even beyond, we don’t see any slowing down in these forces and in some cases they are actually accelerating,” Wangensteen said. Yin noted that through running a global strategy the firm has had the advantage of utilizing its expertise in developed and emerging markets to position itself during the current trade war between the U.S. and China. While most institutional investors have seemed to focus on building an equity portfolio with dedicated domestic and non-U.S. equity mandates, Wangensteen is bullish on the opportunity for global equity based on his conversations with allocators. “When we started this institutional marketing three years ago, especially in the U.S., there was this mindset of domestic and international and global as a concept for U.S. institutional investors was somewhat foreign and we have seen a change in that mindset over the past three years where now global is being accepted. Not fully embraced, but there is certainly a trend where these big institutional investors are beginning to look at global,” he said.
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