5 Minutes With: Martin Currie’s Zehrid Osmani

Zehrid Osmani, manager of the Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust reveals his New Year’s resolution and the stock he regrets not owning in 2019 

Annalisa Esposito 3 January, 2020 | 10:24AM
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Zehrid Osman

Zehrid Osmani leads the five-star rated Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust (MNP), having joined the firm in 2018 from BlackRock. 

The trust has returned 33.4% over the past year and delivered annualised returns of 13.5% over five years. Top holdings include software provider Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and chemical company Linde (LIN).

What does the trust do?

Focuses on a collection of 25 to 30 names that have high returns, attractive growth profiles and sustainable characteristics. It has a high-conviction long-term approach. Different investors have different ideas of what long-term investing means – for us it means five-to-10 years.

Why invest in this trust?

For our investment horizon. The fact that is long-term is an important aspect - if investors are too short-term there could be disruption in the portfolio due to too much trading. Also, unlike many other funds, we are not constrained by the benchmark so have the freedom to only pick our best ideas stocks.

What are the biggest challenges in running this trust?

The liquidity of the trust could be an impediment for some investors (fewer holdings means larger stakes) but it’s manageable and it's not a problem as long as we continue to generate strong returns.

What’s your best investment?

Since running this portfolio, I’ve some had some strong contributors in the medical space, such as Straumann (STMN). We bought the stock last summer and it has gone up since then. The company produces dental implants and clear aligners among other things.

And your worst investment decision?

Not owning Apple (AAPL) this past year - it has impacted our performance significantly. We have been cautious on this company since its valuation peaked.

What is a stock in the portfolio you’re excited about?

In the consumer space, fashion retailer Moncler (MTA). It is a strong brand with high returns and attractive growth profile, and the company is opening new stores.

What would you change about the asset management industry?

Apart from the short nature of the market? I would like to see more focus on sustainable investing. ESG has become a buzzword and it is important that investors assess fund managers, checking whether they have real expertise in this field. The sad reality is there is a risk that some people in the industry could use this buzzword to attract investors, instead of genuinely believing in it.

If I weren’t a fund manager…

As a kid I used to be a football player, so that was my childhood dream. But now I am an adult, I would say a car engineer. I like that constant search for a better-performing products and the constant search for improvement.

What do you do in your spare time?

I do lots of sport, tennis and running generally. I find it helps me deal with the pace of work, where you have to deliver for investors in a high pressure environment. I love theatre and concerts too, I went to the Edinburgh Fringe festival this summer.

What's your New Year's resolution? 

Finding some time to read non-financial related stuff, maybe I’ll start with some fiction books.

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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About Author

Annalisa Esposito  is a data journalist for Morningstar.co.uk