New Year, New Me? Fund Managers’ Resolutions

From playing more cello to beating long Covid, these are the goals fund managers are hoping to achieve in 2023

Sunniva Kolostyak 13 December, 2022 | 1:15PM
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We’re in the midst of outlook week at Morningstar, and fund managers and analysts everywhere are focusing on predictions and forecasts for the new year. They may seem like mystical creatures, hiding behind a veil of stats, charts and jargon, but believe it or not, they are in fact people too. So we are asking them the most pertinent of questions: what’s your new years’ resolution?

Unsurprisingly, the resolutions we’ve collated are as well-diversified as could be expected from expert investors, and we can break them down into three major resolution classes: learning, self-improvement, and financial.

Learning new things is one of the major resolutions for many, including myself – I’d love to be able to do a pull-up, and intend to learn that in 2023. Lucy Isles, co-manager of the high yield bond funds at Baillie Gifford, on the other hand, is going to learn to speak Italian.

She says: “With 7,117 known languages in the world, I should at least learn one more, to deepen the colours and inspiration in my life. And to know all the naughty things my Scottish-Italian nieces say!”

Meanwhile, Damian Taylor, deputy fund manager at CRUX Asset Management, started learning cello about 12 months ago and finds it a really good way to switch off and relax in the evenings. His resolution is to make time to practice more often.

You could, however, argue that learning is about self-improvement, and abrdn New Dawn Investment Trust’s James Thom proves this; he would like to make more time to read, starting with the pile of books sat on his bedside table that has been getting ever higher through 2022.

Clive Beagles of J O Hambro’s UK Equity Income Fund wants to get more sleep, largely through the near-impossible method of “not picking up and looking at my phone after 10pm and getting myself and my family to go to bed earlier during the week” (good luck, Clive!). And, Amanda Yeaman, lead manager of abrdn UK Smaller Companies Income Trust, says: don’t sweat the small stuff.

Health is So Important

These resolutions are of course a bit of fun – we all like to think our ideal selves, particularly after an indulgent Christmas, where we become better and healthier individuals.

But Chris Clothier, co-manager of Capital Gearing Trust, shows the serious side of setting goals for the future.

“I wish to be finally rid of Long Covid. I suffered it for a few months in 2020. This year I have had it on and off since April, and for some reason it seems more persistent this time. I cannot count the number of social engagements or activities with my children that I have had to cancel. Work has been a relative bright spot – sitting at my desk isn’t too exhausting. My colleagues have been endlessly patient, picking up the slack when I have been unwell, but I hope that in 2023 I can better pull my weight.”

Money, Money, Money

Of course, this article would not be complete without some financial resolutions. While you can expect more on this topic later in the month – stay tuned by opting in to our newsletters – fund managers are also thinking of how to make use of the knowledge they have to help others.

Tim Levene, CEO, and fund manager for Augmentum Fintech, will be spending more time on supporting the founders and CEOs in the portfolio to navigate the current macro environment. He says: “It is uncharted territory for some (on both a personal and professional level). I have navigated through a number of difficult recessions as an entrepreneur and learnt plenty of lessons along the way. I hope I can share some of those learnings, good and bad, as they weather the storm and continue building truly disruptive fintechs.”

And, Scott Levy, founder of Sustainable Capital, hopes to work with schools and charities on financial education andl inclusion. “Financial education among 16–24-year-olds in the UK is in a poor state – their ability to understand more about financial matters and improve access to appropriate financial products is crucial to a successful and hopefully more financially astute future.”

What About Us?

Finally, as I’ve already mentioned my own resolution for the year (which for full disclosure has stayed the same for three years running), I’ve also asked the rest of the Morningstar editorial team for their hopes and dreams. And just like our fund managers, we all want to learn new skills and deploy some financial savvy.

Also here we find the wish to develop new talents: becoming an expert gardener, learning how to sail, or, in Johanna Englundh’s case, survive the Swedish skiing relay race Stafettvasan. Going on holiday is also a popular goal, presumably to get out of my questions about new years’ resolutions.

But most of our resolutions were financial – directly or indirectly. On the property side, a decision needs to be made on whether to leave city life behind, and another on finding the right house before interest rates get even higher. And one editor aims to pay off his mortgage next year.

Improving their investment portfolio was echoed by three editors, both through reducing liquidity and consolidating some pensions. And, like some of our fund managers, Jocelyn Jovene hopes to continue educating his children to become money savvy themselves.

While some goals are less serious than others, making sure we have some that go beyond our day job is important. Time and time again we see the connection between mental and financial wellbeing, and by attempting to achieve even something trivial, we’ll be better prepared to take on whatever the new year throws at us.

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Sunniva Kolostyak

Sunniva Kolostyak  is data journalist for

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