Jamie Black started his career in 1987, a week before the October ’87 crash, which he survived, moving to Sarasin in 1996, where he now heads up the private client team.
Now 30 strong, the team looks after around 830 relationships, predominantly in the UK, the Channel Islands and Europe. ‘We are genuinely global with no parochial UK bias in our investment process, says Black. Our partnership structure has ensured a peerless track record of continuity amongst the senior client facing staff.’
A fund management firm with a global equity process at its heart, Sarasin has a number of areas of specialism, notably inflation-linked target return mandates, an AIM Portfolio Service and its subsidiary, Sarasin Asset Management, through which we they are licensed to look after US clients. And they charge an ad valorem management fee with no dealing commissions or other transaction related costs.
Black himself looks after a range of families and charities, all of whom ‘are very long term looking to achieve a total return well ahead of inflation,’ he explains. ‘Capital growth tends to be the overriding objective, but sometimes with an income overlay. Our client base is 100 per cent discretionary,’ he says.
The greatest challenge of the past year, says Black, has been the move by central banks from QE to QT (quantitative easing to quantitative tightening). ‘Since 2009, markets have been sustained by an appetising diet of falling interest rates and central banks printing money. US rates are now on the rise and the Federal Reserve is withdrawing QE, with the others taking their foot off the accelerator. The investment backdrop is fundamentally different as a result and more challenging.’
An interesting trend among investors has been an increased focused on decarbonisation, corporate governance and, especially amongst millennials, philanthropy and social impact investing. ‘This has been a part of our investment culture for many years at Sarasin & Partners, hence we have a dedicated ESG team, fully integrated into our investment process,’ says Black.
Black is pragmatic on the regulatory environment that has taken shape over the last ten years. ‘Regulation has definitely improved behaviour and standards across the industry,’ he says. ‘The flipside is that it has inevitably become a bigger cost burden, especially for smaller firms, which risks driving out competition.’