All Angles Episode 6 - Creating Value: Using a Scalpel Approach in ESG

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  • 40 mins 30 secs
How best to analyze corporate sustainability plans? In Episode 6 of the All Angles podcast, Vishal Hindocha and Nevin Chitkara discuss why a 'scalpel' approach can help investors better analyze ESG factors and engage with companies. Plus, discover which governance issues are top of mind right now and how these issues differ around the world.

This material is intended for investment professional use only. Please keep in mind that a sustainable investing approach does not guarantee positive results and all investments, including those that integrate ESG considerations into the investment process, carry a certain amount of risk including the possible loss of the principal amount invested.
Channel: MFS Investment Management

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Vish Hindocha: Hello, and welcome to the All Angles podcast where we look to unpack the wonderful world of ESG investing, one conversation at a time. 

Today, I'm joined by Nevin Chitkara who has 29 years of investing experience and is a portfolio manager at MFS, managing the MFS Large Cap Value strategy, as well as being the chair of our co-working group. In this wide-ranging conversation, we cover topics such as how Nevin got into the industry, how he thinks about investing and sustainability within the investment process, examples of the types of issues that he looks at and engages on as well as discussing a wide array of governance topics on companies and how investors can assess them. It's such a fascinating time to be talking to Nevin about value investing and governance. And it's, I'm sure, it's a theme we'll be talking about more and more in the years to come. Don't forget. You can subscribe to All Angles through multiple channels, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you choose to listen to your podcasts from. And if you have any questions you'd like us to cover, please do get in touch by emailing [email protected] 

So without much further ado, Nevin, welcome to the podcast. How are you doing today?

Nevin Chitkara: I'm doing well. Thank you for having me Vish.

Vish Hindocha: It's great to have you here. So Nevin, maybe for our listeners, if you could give us a little bit of your potted history. How did you get here? And more importantly, why do you continue to choose to do what you do nearly 30 years on?

Nevin Chitkara: Yeah, so I grew up in a household with people in the health care industry. My father was a doctor, my mother a nurse, and didn't have a lot of business experience or exposure until I got into college. I'd worked in a large multinational industrial firm for about five years and realized that I really enjoyed the analytical side of the job. I worked in their merger and acquisition group, and really enjoyed valuation in looking at different companies. I spent two years in graduate school and joined MFS out of graduate school as an analyst. I spent roughly eight or nine years as an analyst covering various sectors, which means looking for good investments within those sectors here at MFS. And about 15, 16 years ago, I transitioned to the large cap value to serve on the Large Cap Value strategy. And I've been here since.

Vish Hindocha: What an incredible 15, 16 years to be managing the value strategy, as well as the time that you've spent here. As a side note, my mother was also a nurse and worked for a very, very long period of time for the NHS. We have some shared history. You mentioned that your role when you joined MFS and as it is today is to find “good investments.” How do you describe your philosophy investment strategy? What do you look for as a good investment in your strategy?

Nevin Chitkara: Yep. So we really look for good companies that are reasonably priced and I guess the way I would characterize it is I've been a lot more successful for clients in buying great companies at good prices than buying okay companies at great prices. So there's really two aspects of that. One is to think about the attributes that those companies have and typically people use the term quality which means a lot of things to a lot of people. But what we're looking for are companies with a lot of business differentiation, a lot of resilience, very low business risk. And those types of companies typically are ones that have very high returns, have strong balance sheets and generate a lot of free cash flow. 

If you think about it, a company that generates high returns is somewhat of an anomaly. With competition, it shouldn't be the case that a lot of companies can earn exorbitant profits. So what we really try to do is understand what are the attributes of that company and that situation that are allowing the company to sustain high levels of returns and profits and how durable do we think they are going forward. And we look at valuation and try to, when we identify those companies, buy them, own them at a time when there's a lot of value to be created for clients by holding them as they create value over time.

Vish Hindocha: That's great. Thank you. And you mentioned the term valuation a few times. I think you defined how you think about quality. How do you think about valuation in that context?

Nevin Chitkara: So, valuation is interesting. We look at, I guess I would characterize it as somewhat of a mosaic approach. I mean, theoretically, if we knew with perfect information, what the future would hold, we can do an intrinsic value, discounted cash flow to determine what a company should be valued at and what the upside is. The truth of the matter is that the future is uncertain. So we really look at valuation under different terms, different factors, very focused on free cash flow. We think about the level of business risk. If there's a company that is much more stable, a regulated electric utility, for example, the amount of return that we should expect on that is less than something a company where there's a fair amount more business risk. In addition, the past 25 years, I know it doesn't feel like it today because interest rates are going up this year, but interest rates have come down substantially, cap rates on real estate have come down substantially, discount rates have come down, spreads have really tightened. And the environment has really become much more... Growth is slowed and valuations are higher. So we really do also look at valuation relative to other asset classes and other investment opportunities to get a sense as a mosaic of if something looks like it's attractively valued.

Vish Hindocha: And when you think about that mosaic, how would you say that sort of sustainability in its broader sense, how does that assessment fit into your investment process or into that mosaic?

Nevin Chitkara: So it's interesting, our investment process works if the valuation metrics that we're using and the level of profits and returns is sustainable. Where it really breaks down is if we find great companies that are generating a lot of cash and high returns, and in three or four years, those returns are going to be competed away. Similarly, how sustainability and governance and even the environmental and social aspects of sustainability fit in, is when we think about the durability of those returns and the durability of that business. And if I could give you an example from a governance perspective, the idea of having... If we think back thousands of years, an elder council, that in each individual case an elder doesn't really hold any power, but as a collective group, they oversee the leadership.

It's a model that's worked for thousands and thousands of years. And that is a model that ensures that the best interest of the organization is put ahead of the best interest of any one individual. And to think about a company from a sustainability standpoint, that level of governance is critical in most cases. I mean, there are exceptions, there are situations with family businesses and founder-led companies where it's like everything else in sustainability, it takes work. And there's some complexity to really kind of understand what's in the best interest of the company going forward, but that's really how governance and sustainability fit in.

Vish Hindocha: Great. And I thank you for that. It's super interesting, your example about the elders and I think we'll get into sort of governance and other models that have and haven't survived maybe the test of time so far. Before we get to that, one thing I know that I think you've been asked in the past, and one thing that always strikes me as curious, is your focus on you've used words like durability, sustainability, meaning the longevity of businesses, and quality, which don't necessarily always go together with value investing, to use your words, normally people associate value investing with finding okay companies at great prices. I'm wondering, is there anything else about your investment philosophy style or your beliefs that you think is not necessarily even counter to conventional wisdom, but not necessarily well understood by other people? Perhaps the sustainability and complexity argument that you were just laying out there?

Nevin Chitkara: Yeah. And I think it's actually, it's relevant right now. And I guess there are two different factors when I think about investing. One is to be very disciplined and to stay very true to who we are as investors. And that's really thinking about valuation support, thinking about durability of companies. There's another competing aspect that we think... So those are inward looking at a company and looking at kind of the work we do. If we look outward, it's really looking at how society is changing and how the marketplace is changing. We hit a period in, around the world, in the UK and in the US, from the late 1970s up until around 2000 where there was deregulation, there was really an opening up and capitalism was able to flourish in ways that created a lot of value for society and created a lot of wealth for many people.

What's happened since then and after the financial crisis is we've been in a period with more regulation. There's more of a recognition that, as society, there are demands that are being put on companies to act and behave in ways that are good for society. And those demands aren't things that were necessarily put on companies 20 or 30 years ago. So when we think about sticking to our discipline on valuation, that's something that we absolutely do and how we look for companies. But that really has to be in the context of the fact that the demands on these companies are going to change over the next 5, 10, 15 years, and we're seeing it. And I guess that juxtaposition of those two, and really almost thinking of it as using two different muscles in a sport is something that is somewhat, I guess, unique and different in the way that I look at things. I mean, I very much spend a lot of time looking externally and understanding big sociological changes, changes in regulation and also spend a lot of time in a very detailed way on companies. So that's probably the most relevant difference or unique aspect.

Vish Hindocha: I really love that. I think, and Nevin, one of the things as we've been talking a few weeks ago even, I was asking your perspective on where you view the sustainability landscape. One of the analogies you used that has really stayed with me and resonated with me deeply was the sledgehammer and the scalpel, using the right tool for the right job. I wonder if you could double-click on that for us now, it's similar to your two muscles analogy, but it really helped me understand how you think about what is the right weapon in the arsenal to use, depending on what is happening and maybe your two perspectives of thinking about sociological change, as well as your experience of working very deeply with individual companies or thinking about individual companies and working through some of those details.

Nevin Chitkara: Yeah. So sure, I think initially when there is change, government or society has to really mandate change oftentimes with a sledgehammer and things have to be worked through. I recall back in, I think it was the 1970s, when in the US, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act went into place. And what this basically said is that the anti-bribery laws that the United States had on their own soil were being applied to US companies when they do business outside of the United States. And even 12, 13 years later, when I entered the workforce, there was a lot of discontent among American companies feeling like they were being treated unfairly and held in one standard where other companies throughout the world were not held to those anti-bribery standards. And what happened over time were two things. Number one, it was a wonderful thing; it was a great thing to do for society to pass the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. But, on the one hand, many other countries then adopted those types of practices and regulations, but also there was some weaving of different policies.

And one example is something called a facilitating payment where in certain societies, government doesn't really work unless you pay commissions to have permits done and to allow some leeway for that was something that allowed businesses to actually be able to continue to operate in societies where the institutions and the governments didn't operate in the same way that they do in the United States and perhaps Western Europe. So as it happens, if we think about climate and carbon, we have an absolute need to get to net zero by 2050.

Everybody knows the difference between one and a half degrees and two degrees. And in order to do that, there is a roadmap of how to get there. The intent of all of this, of the entire carbon net zero initiative that the world is going through, is to avoid hardship among the most vulnerable people in our society and in our world. And as companies are going through that, we are working with utilities to understand why they're not moving faster. And in a lot of cases, they're regulated under a low cost mandate. They are absolutely very conscious of the bills that lower income people have and would have under a dramatic move to net zero. There's also an expectation in a lot of developed parts of the world that electricity is going to be, in addition to cheap, it's going to be very reliable. If we think about the need to have something like natural gas in order to take care of the peaks in demand, we're going to need technological change.

So one, I guess an analogy with the scalpel, would be the amount of work we're doing in engagement with companies to understand if they're relying on natural gas, which frankly they have to for some time, that they're also really innovating and advocating and working directly to look into long-term battery storage which would be a solution, into utilizing hydrogen for gas turbines for peaking capacity, into carbon sequestration for natural gas. So there's a whole host of types of work in order to really implement the top down. But the top down is necessary in order to be a catalyst to get the work going.

Vish Hindocha: I think that's fantastic. As you talked about climate being a sort of defining topic for this current era of investing, are there other examples outside of the utilities that you think about companies that whether you've either engaged on or analyzed that you've thought about in the context of different industries or different businesses?

Nevin Chitkara: Yeah. For climate specifically, that is one. We've also looked at, for example, aircraft engine manufacturers and how they are thinking about getting to net zero, their use of hydrogen for fuel, the use of renewable fuels. We've also done a lot of work trying to understand carbon offsets. One of the most prevalent carbon offsets is using timber, trees for carbon offsets. And I think that the forestry and timber is a really interesting piece because it's not perfect. It really is utilized by companies. And I think there's a growing recognition that in a lot of cases, the carbon offsets are being applied in ways where if those trees weren't offset, there would be something growing there that would be absorbing carbon. So it's an exciting time to be able to really work and look at what is being done, what are the shortcomings from a technology perspective and how companies can face it.

And I'll tell you, this is very interesting, I love talking about this, but my true passion is investing and creating value for clients. So I do want to make sure that it comes across that the strategy is being managed exactly like it was managed in the past. The reason that climate and that kind of social aspects are so relevant is that that's really where societal demands are. And those create both risks and opportunities for companies in the portfolio. And as we think about the long term durability of cash flows of companies in the portfolio, it's critical that we really take into account all of the demands and regulations and changes that society is putting on these companies.

Vish Hindocha: Yeah, absolutely. It feels like such an interesting and important and, I think in time, almost an obvious evolution of what investors are asking about. And some clients asked recently a question around, if you can't say that it's not a change in your process because you weren't thinking about science-based targets five years ago, because frankly they didn't exist five years ago, right. And I said, no, that's true, but equally in 1998, we probably weren't asking too many questions about cyber security, but to not ask them today would be unthinkable, right. So we are witnessing kind of real change in the real economy, change in real businesses and how they're put together and our job, your job really, as an investor is to make sure that you are paying attention to that in order to ask the pertinent questions and understand where the opportunities and risks may lay. In and of themselves, these topics are fascinating and as you said, complex and ambiguous, and they can be seductive, but ultimately we have to come back to how do we sort of create value.

Nevin, I really want to pick your brain on governance. Before we get there, you mentioned social risks.

Nevin Chitkara: Yes.

Vish Hindocha: What are some of the social topics that you've been, not necessarily focused on, but have come across your desk, things that you've thought about in the context of the companies that you invest in?

Nevin Chitkara: Yeah. And it's fascinating. I will admit that I never really gave a lot of thought to where palm oil or cocoa beans comes from and how they are harvested. We've owned consumer companies that utilize them. And over the past couple of years, there's been a growing recognition among those companies, among other NGOs, and I've become more aware of modern slavery, of situations where workers leave their homes in lower socioeconomic areas and they pay commissions to work on a farm and send wages home. And when they get there, their passports are taken and they are put into a situation where they have to work off the commission that they had paid in addition to their living quarters...

Vish Hindocha: Expenses.

Nevin Chitkara: And they get into a situation where it really is. It really is not what... And it isn't a benefit of society.

It's incredibly complicated because in a lot of cases there aren't the supplies of goods that are being harvested in a way that is done for the benefit of labor and society. In other cases, in cocoa beans, there's a lot of children that are harvesting and some of the companies, a company that is in the value portfolio, is building schools in those areas. So it's a situation where there's auditing. There are actions that the companies are taking. Auditing meaning that outside groups or the companies are going and interviewing people and really understanding the structure. And there's really a differentiation going on. And it's very interesting to see the change as it's happening. And it's something that if a company were to ignore these societal changes, it's my belief that once we get to a point where there is much more of an infrastructure and reporting structure to ensure that companies are acting in a way that's in the best interest of society and the people that are working in a fair way, that there are going to be regulations. There's going to be a lot more items that are going to make it very difficult for companies that don't get started now.

These are the types of things that take a number of years, so the social aspect, the whole modern slavery around cocoa beans, around palm oil, around rubber production in Malaysia, those are things that is very top of mind.

Vish Hindocha: That's great. And as we think about that and holding companies accountable, perhaps, and I want to come back to your council of elders analogy and on governance and using your lenses of the either top down or bottom up, or the scalpel and the sledgehammer, are there things that you think about on the governance perspective? Either the things that persist through time in a big kind of structural trends that we're witnessing, or things that you are more focused on as you get into work with some of these individual companies or some of these issues.

Nevin Chitkara: Yeah. We've done a lot of work around the, I guess I would describe it that there are... What one of our colleagues, Andy Jones, has it termed, hard coded versus soft coded. There are things that are explicit that are tangible, and then there's the soft, the culture. And when we've done a lot with thinking about board composition, board structure about compensation plans about capital decisions, but we've also done a lot to better understand board culture, understand independence, understand how succession planning really works. And that's where I think we really have a great opportunity to be very good stewards of these companies that our clients are invested in.

Vish Hindocha: What are the, just to double click on that for a second, what are some of the things that you might think about in a culture assessment? Something that is so qualitative, really hard to measure quite kind of squishy and I'm sure situational and nuanced by region type of company, you mentioned, family owned businesses versus kind of more traditional corporate businesses that we might be used to in the developed world. What are some of the ways in which you and the team sort of make an assessment of something as amorphous as a company's culture?

Nevin Chitkara: Yep. I'll answer that. If I can just back up for a second, one aspect, if you think about it, we are investing in companies that in a lot of cases, they don't make anything. The company itself is intellectual property or technology and it's really the application of that technology. And in a lot of cases, what really creates the difference between a great stock or a very successful company, that's grown very well versus a company that kind of languishes, is their ability to scale, their ability to interact, the ability for people to work together, to transfer information, to innovate and to kind of incorporate that innovation. This whole area of how people interact. What's the optimal? How they can take what they're doing and apply it as a platform to other businesses or adjacencies? That's probably the most important thing that we do. And it's more important than understanding any one product, especially with the application of technology. So that's kind of just a headline that's bigger than governance. But we really try to understand one area of succession planning and understanding, so where does the list of successors, either as a management team or on the board, come from? How are the board members or the management team interrelated?

One thing I'm actually very impressed with; the responsiveness over the years that boards have had. And oftentimes, I don't feel like our job is really trying to get a trophy on the wall or have something that we're able to point to as a win against the company. I think of it more that we are partners with the company and we, when we have concerns, we share those concerns. And there have been many times when we have shared concerns about governance or other items, and it's brought up a lot of deep thoughts. So in succession and change and in succession planning, we've had... there was an energy company that had a chairman and a CEO that there was a change. And we didn't think it was done in the best interest of shareholders.

We brought it up and very shortly, within a couple of weeks, there were three board members in our office having a conversation. And within a couple of weeks, there was a lot of change at the company in a positive way. There are compensation plans that we've had conversations about. And in a lot of cases, there are changes to the compensation plans. Sometimes, it takes multiple cycles of the proxy to have those changed and compensation is incredibly complex, but that's another aspect. Oftentimes, there's a policy or a norm of what is a board size and what is too big. What we found is, and sometimes there are boards that we think are too small with the concentration of influence within a very small number of people. So it's really this whole idea, again, with the scalpel, of asking the questions, digging in and really thinking of, this is an investment that's going to create value for our clients? What makes the most sense in order to optimize and lower the risks? And really let that business flourish from a governance in a kind of board oversight perspective.

Vish Hindocha: That's fantastic. Thank you for sharing that. I want to... One of the things that you do in addition to managing the portfolio is chair our governance working group, which is made up of a broad kind of cross-section of the investment platform. Thinking about some of the fundamental principles, the building blocks of how we think about this across the platform, just curious to ask you, in addition to some of the topics you mentioned there, succession planning, compensation, board structure and composition, what are the kinds of things that the governance working group has been working on? And how does that help you as a generalist and other specialists in your day to day work? How do you translate that into the work that you carry out as you are looking through the portfolio and building it and looking through the companies?

Nevin Chitkara: Yeah. Well, great. Maybe I'll just give a little bit of background. So we have a sustainability group and I'm involved with that. And outside of that, we have kind of a climate working group, a social working group and a governance working group, which was established about two years ago. There are about 15 colleagues on the governance working group. Largely investment people who've been around for a long time and have worked with companies for a long time. We have representatives from the legal department, obviously the stewardship group, which handles proxy voting with us; we're really integrated on the investment side. And it's also geographically diverse with Asia, Europe and the US, as well as fixed income and equity involved. We've developed a set of principles that we use to guide our interactions with companies about governance, but also how we think about proxy voting.

And it was a very difficult exercise to go through, to come together and develop governance principles, because there are different norms in different parts of the world. So we wanted to put together a document that would be universal enough that it would apply in the US, in Europe and even in emerging markets and in Asia. So one thing as simple as the board chair/CEO split is something that is very common, mandated, is expected over in Europe, in the UK. And it's not the case in the US. So instead of coming up with a prescription of what is the right, like a list, it's something that looks at things and is specific enough to be relevant, but is really kind of philosophical in looking at the spirit of what the intent is. We spend a lot of time developing governance principles, and now, really two aspects of governance now, one is really drilling down and trying to develop content and thinking through topics that we’re, as an investment group, interacting with companies that we're invested in. One area is compensation. Compensation, as I mentioned, is incredibly complex. And we can think about if we even put aside the absolute amount of compensation, what's the intent of compensation? What should be in long-term compensation versus short-term compensation? How focused should compensation be on returns? What level of performance should kind of payouts be targeted towards?

There's a whole aspect there that we have started to flesh out. Board structure and board composition I mentioned, we've really solicited information, not only from within the governance group, but also with other people within MFS and companies outside of MFS to get their perspectives on what are the soft attributes to look for when thinking about board structure. The last area is really sharing best practices.

And I will tell you there's a lot of work that's happened in the US and Europe. I would say that there's a tremendous amount of work that's going on in Japan, in Asia. At our next governance group, a number of our Asia colleagues on the working group are going to be talking about different engagements they have, and there is an unbelievable amount of engagement and change happening in Japan, which is really interesting and fascinating to see. And that's... it's great and gives perspective on sharing best practices when we're able to share those ideas across different geographies.

Vish Hindocha: That's fascinating. Governance in Japan has always been such a phenomenally interesting issue from the cross-shareholdings and some of the sort of board diversity type issues. And it's fascinating to see how some of those statistics are moving and changing. And I know that some of the team put out really interesting, very short white paper on what they're seeing in work being done, which is fascinating. I wonder actually, just on compensation, which certainly from my seat seems to be in the sort of sociological lens in terms of the zeitgeist right now on sort of CEO pay versus average median pay, do you see any of that sort of creeping in? Is that a helpful accelerant to some of these conversations with companies? Is that more of a distraction? Because actually, the court of public opinion isn't always necessarily a helpful place to kind of discuss some of those issues, but that feels like one of the many governance issues of today, which is front of mind for many stakeholders, including, consumers of these businesses.

Do you see that filter through some of the conversations that you are having around compensation? Given it is, as you said, such a complex issue.

Nevin Chitkara: It is absolutely coming into the conversation and it's incredibly complex. If we think about compensation standards in a geography like Europe versus the US, they're dramatically different. If we think about compensation differences between running a public company in the US versus running a private equity sponsored company, there are differences. There's also been a lot of turnover of senior executives in some of the most highest paid industries in the US and overseas. There have also been more cases of clawbacks that have been implemented. It is not something that anybody at MFS really feels on an absolute basis. I mean, at the end of the day, what we're trying to do is optimize the companies to create the best, the most value for companies and to do it in a responsible way.

And compensation is something that's very important to motivate, but I feel like in cases where compensation might be out of line, it's very easy to fix when a company is underperforming. Where it becomes very complex is when there's a high-performing company and the compensation is excessive. At what point is it excessive, how do we frame that? And our approach has been to have multiple conversations to really start to better understand that. One aspect that we have had a lot of impact on is there have been, in some cases, special retention agreements given as part of mergers or other corporate actions that we didn't really feel were appropriate and had discussions. And there's absolutely been some changes in compensation in cases, but I feel like this is almost like a garden. It's the kind of thing that's going to have to be managed over time and cultivated more than being able to have a discrete time when this has changed.

Vish Hindocha: No, I totally appreciate it. And like I said, at the beginning, maybe it's a theme that we come back to and see how it evolves over time. Nevin. You've been extremely generous with your time. Before we finish, I'd love to ask you some quick fire questions about you. 

Outside of all the considerable work that you do at MFS that you very eloquently talked about today, what else do you devote your time and energy to?

Nevin Chitkara: Well, this is maybe a typical boring answer, but after work and spending time with my family, there isn't a whole lot of time left. I play a little bit of golf, I garden and spend time with my family.

Vish Hindocha: Nice. And is there a book, an article or piece of literature that you've shared or recommended the most to friends, family, colleagues?

Nevin Chitkara: Well, that I could spend a little bit more time on this topic.

I did mention this whole idea that the way that people interact and organizations interact is really important to not only the companies but society. And there's a number of books that I've read that have really embodied that. One is, and it's Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari. He has a new book. Sapiens is actually really fascinating in it kind of sets the basic premise. Geoffrey West wrote a book called Scale that really, if you think about it, if there are 10 people in a group, there are about 40 or 50 interactions between them. When you go from 10 to a hundred, the number of interactions goes up a hundred fold. So it really is exponential. And when you think about companies scaling or an organization scaling, how does that work? And then there's a woman named Priya Parker who wrote a book, The Art of Gathering, which really goes through how people interact, how to really optimize interactions with people to get the most out of meetings.

As far as climate, Avoiding The Climate Disaster was written by Bill Gates. I found that to be incredibly helpful. And then just from an investment standpoint, one thing I love to do to understand a company is to read the letter to shareholders, but not for one year, but for five or 10 years. And you can really go back. There's a stake in the ground, a document that institutionalizes what a CEO said 10 years ago. And we can look at how that has changed and how they've, again, looking for this constancy of purpose, constancy of strategy, but also being open to changes going on in society and looking for, managing that dichotomy is something that comes through loud and clear with some companies. Frankly, in a lot of companies that haven't really had the same level of effectiveness, you can sometimes see that in how things change and how the strategy changes over a long period of time.

Vish Hindocha: Thank you. Thank you for sharing that, lots of new things to read on the books. So I thought about Sapiens and Yuval Noah Harari recently, because if I'm not mistaken, it's that one, potentially Homo Deus, that kind of drives there's really three things that we should be sort of very focused on as existential risks. Two of which are, I think, nuclear war and climate change. And he wrote that book before the current events of 2022 and focus on climate, which seems very prescient for us to be very focused on a couple of those core issues. So really interesting. Thank you for sharing that. 

Just before we go, is there any one message that you would think really important to leave with our listeners today?

Nevin Chitkara: Yeah, what I'm passionate about and what really gets me up in the morning and keeps me in this job, is investing and adding value for clients. To do that effectively, it really is important to incorporate sustainability factors into the fabric of what our investment process is. And the reason for that, as I had mentioned earlier, is because society and societal demands are changing and the level of competition as things change is going to evolve. And I frankly don't think that... I think there's a good chance 10 years from now, people aren't going to be talking about sustainability it's just going to be part of what we do. Similar to how people don't talk about a company's internet strategy anymore. Having an online presence, having an ability to think about technological disruption is completely incorporated in just about every kind that we look at. So I feel like having that and integrating that is really important for every investor, as we think about things now and then going forward.

Vish Hindocha: Great. Nevin, thank you so much for your time and all your insight. It's been a fascinating conversation.

Nevin Chitkara: It's been my pleasure. Thanks.


This material is intended for investment professional use only. Please keep in mind that a sustainable investing approach does not guarantee positive results and all investments, including those that integrate ESG considerations into the investment process, carry a certain amount of risk including the possible loss of the principal amount invested.


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