It's not the first time that Milford Asset Management has won the Fund Manager of the Year award for its equities funds, but it is all the sweeter in a year that has been one of the toughest for investment managers.
Sam Trethewey, portfolio manager of the Trans-Tasman Equity Fund and the Milford New Zealand Equities Fund, says winning the award recognised a lot of hard work and effort by the team.
"This year certainly has been particularly challenging — that March through to May/June period with Covid was extremely volatile," he says. "The information flow was humungous through that period and it was difficult to manage our clients' money through that period." Trethewey puts the team's long-term success down to the firm's culture and the investment team's alignment with its investors.
"Through that Covid period we got on to the virus very early and identified the risk it presented. Having that team allowed us to dedicate time to understanding what it was.
"We quickly identified who the candidates were to get hit by the virus and also those that benefited. It was a big team effort on that front."
Trethewey says Milford has about 27 people in its investment arm now — a big increase from from the seven or eight people it had when he joined the firm.
Its funds have benefited from some high-conviction positions in Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and a2 Milk, he adds.
The awards judges said the winning portfolio managers clearly expressed their investment views and were willing to back themselves with high-conviction positions and canny trading. "The team exhibits an unrelenting focus on outperformance."
Milford won the same award last year and also won it for five years in a row from 2010 to 2014.