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Simon Armstrong, Saltus Investment Managers

Saltus Investment Managers: Best Wealth Manager – Growth Portfolios

Portfolio management is an art as much as it is a science and as Saltus Investment Managers like to put it, “We can’t predict the weather but we can build you an ark”.

Founded in 2004 by Simon Armstrong and Jon Macintosh, Saltus is an independently-owned investment management company, currently managing approximately GBP425mn of assets for its clients. This includes the partners’ own capital and helps to ensure a strong alignment of interests with its clients, many of which are private investors and family groups investing their pensions, trusts and ISAs.
The Saltus team comprises 20 professionals based out of the firm’s three offices in New Bond Street, London, Altrincham and Chichester. At the heart of the firm is the desire to bring discretionary investment management services to private clients that were previously the preserve of larger family offices and institutions.
The Saltus investment philosophy is to preserve and grow wealth for its clients, over time, irrespective of investing conditions.
“We achieve this through risk-based, multi-asset class investing,” explains Armstrong. “By having the ability to invest across a broader selection of asset classes, we are able to produce returns without being a prisoner to the ups and downs of any one particular asset class, in any one particular geography.”
Saltus runs three growth portfolios: Saltus 33, Saltus 50 and Saltus 67, so named because the targeted risk budget of each portfolio is set at 33 per cent, 50 per cent and 67 per cent of the equivalent risk of investing in the UK stock market, measured over a rolling 3 year period.
In terms of performance the three core portfolios have enjoyed some very strong years. In 2005 the Saltus 50 portfolio returned 21.4 per cent and 17 per cent in 2009. Last year, the portfolio returned 11.7 per cent. Since inception the portfolio has generated compound annualised returns of 6.3 per cent compared to 3.6 per cent for the FTSE 100; moreover, it has done so with just 5.9 per cent volatility compared to 15.3 per cent for the FTSE 100.
“2013 was a good year for growth and several of our core positions managed to perform very well. Key performance drivers were our exposure to property in Macau, to higher yielding corporate debt in Europe and the US and to the mid-cap area of the UK equity market.
“Our holding in Macau Property ended the year over 80 per cent higher than where it began due to a combination of strong NAV growth, disposals and announced returns of capital and a general tightening of the discount to NAV. Acencia Debt Strategies, the investment trust through which we access the skills of US corporate debt investors returned over 20 per cent with low volatility compared to the stock market,” confirms Armstrong.
The main asset allocation tilt this year, versus 2013, has been to reduce exposure to non-GBP risk assets and recycle assets back into the UK with a focus on the small and mid-cap equity space. These still offer reasonable value, according to Armstrong.
On winning this year’s award for Best Wealth Manager – Growth Portfolios, Armstrong comments: “We are really pleased to win this accolade and absolutely delighted that our robust multi-asset class investment process has been recognised in the market place.” 

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