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  • 07/05/2016

Janus’ hunt for healthcare game changer goes beyond numbers: let’s talk


Fundamentally Responsible Investing, managing healthy, sustainable growth

By Carmen Reid

With an integrated investment approach and a strong sense of Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance factors (ESG), Janus Capital Group has enjoyed another winning year. The firm received two House Awards under Healthcare Sector and US Small/Mid Cap Equity in the BENCHMARK Fund of the Year Awards 2016.

There are many similarities in the core approach to investing taken with Janus Global Life Sciences and Janus US Small Cap Growth strategies. Each has dedicated, experienced teams who foster a collaborative style to promote the generation of fresh ideas. The management teams aim to be long-term, fundamental investors who dive deep into their markets to sift out the best possible opportunities. Always, the search is for companies with a sustainable competitive advantage, differentiated products or services, above-market growth or game-changing potential.

It’s Good to Talk

The respective management teams spend a great deal of time researching investment prospects. This includes traveling the world to meet with company management, attending specialist conferences, speaking to experts and gaining an extensive knowledge of the investment areas. As lead manager of the Janus Global Life Sciences strategy, Andy Acker, sees it: “Our analysts should know their companies as well or even better than anyone. This demands going beyond conversing with management. We spend a lot of time talking to physicians – whose decisions affect 80% of healthcare spending – attending medical conferences and interviewing thought leaders in virtually every therapeutic area.”

Healthy Innovation

“Healthcare is experiencing an acceleration in innovation,” explains Acker, “We aim to invest in companies which address unmet medical needs or make the healthcare system more efficient.” The managers are also very focused on doing the deep fundamental research which will identify companies trading below their intrinsic value. Acker explains: “We are still in the early stages of the confluence of demographics and innovation that will drive demand for the sector. Therefore, we think the market’s distraction on regulatory risk provides an attractive and inexpensive opportunity to participate in the sector.”

One recent success story concerned a biomedical company innovating treatment for Hepatitis C. The team surveyed doctors and researchers, studied the research and began to understand the potential of clinical stage therapies. The decision was then taken to buy a biopharmaceutical company that was subsequently acquired by an industry leader at a significant profit to the portfolio. The team went on to increase its stake in the market leader, and when the Hepatitis C treatment was launched, it was one of the most successful products in biotech.

Having the Correct Tools

Research tools include an internally developed Information Management System database that combines volume data with weekly pricing on over 10,000 products to project sales trends. Also, clinical trials can be analyzed using bio-statistical models developed in-house.

Acker describes their method as: “A bottom-up approach to research that seeks to understand companies and the ecosystem within which they operate. Rigorous modeling and competitive analysis, plus Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is a significant part of our research process.”

A Pragmatic Approach

Naturally, in such an innovative field, there is risk. The success of a new business or a new treatment is highly uncertain. Acker says that risk is carefully calculated and assessed: “Our risk management approach reflects a certain caution about the downside in a stock. We take into account business and regulatory uncertainty and the difficulty of estimating future cash flows,” adding, “for those companies facing binary outcomes that significantly impact their future, such as a company with no products on the market and important clinical trials, we use a ‘Value at Risk’ framework. This establishes the size of any one position so that in a worst-case scenario the estimated adverse impact from a particular event should not exceed 1% of the portfolio’s performance.”

Spreading Risk

For Jonathan Coleman, lead manager of the Janus Small Cap Growth strategy, diversification of this portfolio is the key to managing healthy, sustainable growth. “Stable growth names populate the portfolio,” he explains, “companies with a low risk of surprises and a proven track record. These don’t have the fastest growth, but they are the most consistent.”

As an example, the team invests in a service company focused on the non-profit industry with solid organic revenue growth and the potential for margin expansion. Other favorite holdings include cyclical share gainers which operate in cyclical end markets but outcompete their competition in difficult times and emerge stronger when the tide turns in their favor.

Coleman admits that: “Game-changing growth names are the ones everyone likes to talks about – the firms that are doing something so dramatically different that growth rates can be very fast. With these firms, we watch position size closely and keep our holdings small but meaningful enough to matter.”

Keeping an Eye on Events

The team’s in-depth research leads to regular updates and improvements to the portfolio, which are sometimes guided by external events. Coleman explains: “We have made recent changes across a few sectors including industrials, financials and consumer, where we think the new US administration’s policy could shift the landscape subtly to create new opportunities.”

Always, investment is guided by a research-driven process which focuses on quality small-cap companies with differentiated business models and sustainable competitive advantages, with the aim of driving outperformance against the benchmark and peers, over time. “We take a moderate approach,” says Coleman, “seeking to identify companies with large addressable markets that are poised for growth over a multi-year period.”

The Office of Responsible Investment

The two managers see themselves and their teams as long-term fundamental investors. The importance of strong ESG criteria in every company they invest in is emphasized by the appointment of a Responsible Investment Officer. This officer oversees the dissemination of ESG issues and coordinates ongoing ESG education and ESG-related proxy voting.

However, the managers expect everyone to take responsibility for monitoring the sound governance of a company. As Acker concludes: “The primary responsibility for fundamental research lies with the analysts. However, the Responsible Investment Officer helps to focus the conversation and keep relevant material and issues to the fore.”

Both managers are confident that their thorough and innovative, deeply considered approach to investing will maintain the portfolios at the forefront of their areas of expertise for many years to come. BM

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責任為本 投資有道

Carmen Reid 撰文

憑藉涵蓋綜合多元的投資方案,以及對環境保護、社會責任及公司治理(ESG)的堅持,駿利資產管理集團再次成就戰績彪炳的一年。公司在《指標》年度基金大獎2016中,分別在醫療及美國中小型股票兩大類別中贏得公司大獎。

駿利健康護理與駿利美國小型股票增長組合的投資策略在其核心中有不少相近之處。兩者均由經驗豐富的團隊專門管理,各團隊成員緊密合作,並致力開發新穎的投資理念。投資管理團隊以長期發展為目標,他們深入了解各相關市場,以篩選最好的投資機會。團隊一直於市場調查中,銳意發掘擁有可持續競爭優勢、獨特產品或服務、高於市場增長或有革新潛力的公司。

深入溝通的重要性

每隊管理團隊均花費大量時間研究所屬投資市場的前景。為此,他們遠赴各國與公司管理層會面、參加專業人士之論壇並與專家交流,以廣泛汲取各投資領域的知識。駿利健康護理策略的投資經理Andy Acker指出:「我們的分析員需對目標公司作出全面了解,其程度甚至應超越任何人。為此,我們需與各管理層深入交流,包括投放長時間與醫生交談、參加醫療論壇以及訪問幾乎來自所有治療領域的思想領袖。要知道,醫生的決定會影響著八成的醫療保健支出。」

醫療創新

Acker續稱:「醫療保健正經歷著不停加速的革新時代,我們主要投資予能解決醫療需求,或能提升醫療系統效率的公司。」投資團隊亦非常重視深入的基礎研究,以識別市場估值會否低於內在價值的公司。Acker解釋說:「人口增長和醫療創新將推動醫療行業的需求和發展,我們仍處於此需求增長的初階。我們認為目前市場只顧著監管風險,正好提供了具吸引力且低成本的入市良機。」

最近一個成功個案涉及丙型肝炎創新治療方案的生物醫學公司。經過與醫生和研究人員的深入訪談,以及詳細了解研究報告後,投資團隊逐漸掌握到其臨床治療的潛力。據此,團隊決定買入該生物製藥公司的股票,隨後該公司被一家醫療龍頭企業收購,為投資組合帶來利潤。而團隊也繼續於該龍頭企業中增加持股。當丙型肝炎治療方案推出市場後,旋即成為生物科技界最成功的產品之一。

擁有適當的分析工具

研究分析工具包括一個由內部開發的信息管理系統數據庫,結合了超過10,000種醫療產品每週定價的交易量數據,以助預測銷售趨勢。此外,團隊亦可運用內部開發的生物統計模型,分析臨床試驗。

Acker描述:「團隊由下而上地研究該公司及了解所經營的生態系統。研究過程中,建立嚴謹的模型、競爭力的分析,以及衡量對環境保護、社會責任及公司治理(ESG)的實踐也是重要環節。」

務實的投資方式

無可否認,在創新的領域中,自然涉及風險。新業務或新治療方法能否成功,往往難以預料。不過,Acker指風險已被小心計算及評估:「我們的風險管理機制會於股票下跌時保持一定警惕。業務和監管的不確定性,以及評估未來流動資金的難度都是我們考慮的因素。若目標公司的未來發展因研究成敗而嚴重影響收入,例如沒有產品推出市場或缺乏重要臨床試驗等,我們將使用「風險價值」機制,確保在不同位置設定投資規模,縱使在最壞情況時,某特定事件的預測不利影響亦不會超過投資組合業績的1%。」

分散風險

對於駿利小型股票增長策略的投資經理Jonathan Coleman來說,投資組合多樣化是達致健康及可持續增長的關鍵。Coleman解釋:「穩定增長代表多元化的組合性投資。一些公司具有較低出現意外的風險,而且保持良好的往績。雖然它們沒有高速增長,卻表現最為穩定。」

例如,團隊投資了一間專為非牟利行業提供服務的公司,該公司具穩健有機收入增長,更具有利潤提升的潛力。另一類投資寵兒是隨週期上漲的公司,這些公司在經濟週期末時經營,於市況欠佳時仍能跑贏競爭對手,而當市況逆轉時便可獲得強勁表現。

Coleman坦言:「大家都愛談論那些掛著改寫遊戲規則的口號,尤其從事顛覆性的業務來加速增長的公司。然而,對於這些公司我們選擇緊密留意,並限制小規模的持倉數量,但足以對業績構成影響。」

對外在環境保持警覺

有賴團隊的深入研究,投資組合得以定期更新及改進,有時改變也因外在環境而影響。Coleman解釋道:「最近,我們調整了有關工業、金融及消費等行業的投資策略,因我們相信新一屆美國政府所推行的政策,將為了創造新的機會而逐漸改變營商環境。」

為了能達成持續跑贏基準指標及同儕的目標,投資決策一直建基於實質的研究,尤其專注於優質小型公司是否具有獨特的生意模式及可持續的競爭優勢等。Coleman稱:「我們採取溫和的方法,以識辨出具有很大市場發展空間、可持續增長多年的公司。」

責任投資團隊

兩位投資經理均視自己及團隊為長期的重要投資者。因對ESG準則的高度重視,團隊特意委託責任投資主任跟進各公司。該主任負責監督有關ESG的事項,以及籌劃持續進行的ESG教育項目和與ESG相關的代理投票事宜。

儘管如此,兩位投資經理仍希望所有隊員一同負責監察公司的管治狀況。Acker總結道:「分析員須對基礎研究負上最大責任。 然而,責任投資主任可助他們確立研究焦點,並帶出相關資料和問題的重要性。」

兩位投資經理也相信,經過他們全面、創新及深思熟慮的投資策略,其投資組合將會在未來多年中繼續於各自領域中鶴立雞群,歷久彌堅。 BM

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