Jane Buchan, Martlet Asset Management
Episode 7 of Perspectives, our dedicated series where AIMA, in partnership with KPMG hears from alternative investment industry leaders from around the world, welcomes Jane Buchan, CEO of Martlet Asset Management.
Jane’s career path is a truly remarkable one, from being an elite sportswoman in the field of US college athletics to co-founding one of the world’s largest fund of funds. Jane opines on a wide range of evolving market trends such as the rise of AI and ESG, the evolving GP/LP dynamic as well as the growing influence of digital assets and how this all impacts the alternative asset management industry.
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CEO, Martlet Asset Management
5 Lessons from Jane Buchan
Jane draws from her athletic background and outsider perspective that taught her “It didn't matter how you trained, what your uniform looked like, who your coach was, at the end of the day, it all came down to the mark you could produce." It is a powerful reminder that in the alternative investment industry, ensuring returns for investors is everything.
Jane highlights the opportunities in fintech and biotech, indicating that "there's interesting opportunities when you think about firms that can cross between both public and private space.” This points to the value of diversification and the pursuit of opportunities in sectors where innovation or underfunding might provide investment potential. Yet Jane does express a measured scepticism towards cryptocurrencies, differentiating between public and private blockchain use cases. "I have a hard time seeing the use case for public blockchain cryptocurrency... I'm interested in the technology but more from a private blockchain." And so, Jane indicates the need for a cautious approach towards emerging markets and technologies, advocating for a comprehension of the underlying technology and utility before embracing them as viable investment avenues.
Jane underscores the importance of a diversity of opinions in an investment firm, which “you get through a diversity of experiences." Having a team that brings varied perspectives to the table enables a firm to explore a range of ideas, scrutinise investments critically, and potentially navigate through complex financial markets more effectively. It’s not merely about demographic diversity but about ensuring a breadth of perspectives to challenge and refine investment strategies.
There are many small emerging managers with tremendous potential who struggle to gain traction for various non-performance-related reasons, according to Jane. She stresses the need to unearth these hidden gems among emerging managers, reminding listeners that the sources of valuable investment opportunities can be right under your nose.
Be pragmatic and vigilant to emerging market trends.
Jane warns listeners of the need to be vigilant and avoid getting swayed by industry slogans and trends without delving deeper into them. She underscores that while technological advancements (like ChatGPT) or trending investment themes (like ESG) will alter workflows and decision-making processes, they won't alter the need for thorough investing. Although Jane does have “a small bone to pick with ESG…I think it's tossed around into one concept, whereas I think there's really three different things there." She critiques the lumping of distinct aspects like Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) into a single concept, emphasising that a nuanced understanding and approach toward each aspect is vital.