Fitzsimmons: I have managed both funds with my co-manager Peter Allwright since their respective inception dates (April 2006 and June 2008).
e-fundresearch: Do you adhere to a benchmark? If yes, which one?
Fitzsimmons: The funds aim to outperform well known measures of cash returns: 3 percent per annum above 3 month Euribor for the Target Return Fund and 1.5 percent above EONIA for the lower risk Target Return Core Fund.
e-fundresearch: Do you manage currently also other funds or mandates?
Fitzsimmons: I focus on a number of Threadneedle´s absolute strategies across a focussed range of specialist and multi-asset portfolios.
e-fundresearch: What is the total volume that you manage in all your funds currently?
Fitzsimmons: I personally manage around GBP 1 billion.
e-fundresearch: In regards to the fund’s performance, which results did you manage to get from 1y / 2y / 3y period (both absolute as well as relative in comparison to the benchmark)?
e-fundresearch: Are you happy with your overall performance within the last years in this year?
Fitzsimmons: The team had a very good call markets and delivered excellent returns in a very challenging environment.
e-fundresearch: Which results would you consider in this context as very good, mediocre and challenging?
Fitzsimmons: Delivering positive returns of 10 percent or more when most asset classes were in strongly negative territory allowed us to display the potential for absolute return as an asset class and our capabilities in managing this type of products.
e-fundresearch: How can you provide added value for your investors by your performance?
Fitzsimmons: By adding value over and above cash returns.
e-fundresearch: How long have you been fund manager already?
Fitzsimmons: For almost 18 years.
e-fundresearch: What have been your biggest successes and challenges in your career as a fund manager?
Fitzsimmons: Contributing to driving Threadneedle´s absolute return products to class leading measures of competitive performance and gaining investors´ confidence with this type of approach has been professionally highly satisfying.
The biggest challenge is always present - the need to balance an open mind with the requirement to take appropriate risk in order to add value for our clients.
e-fundresearch: In which financial market environment are we operating currently in your opinion?
Fitzsimmons: This is a treacherous environment dominated by rapid deleveraging and consolidation of the banking industry. This is resulting in the unwinding of a super boom which is now having profound consequences for the real economy.
e-fundresearch: How do you act, operate in this environment?
Fitzsimmons: With clear strategies that combine our skills as custodians of our clients´ capital with a very focussed and controlled approach to risk-taking.
e-fundresearch: What are the specific challenges in the current situation?
Fitzsimmons: The rate of economic slowdown has been remarkably rapid so identifying key changes in the authorities´ approach to managing markets and scrutinising the health of companies continuously is vital.
e-fundresearch: Which targets and aims do you have short-term until the end of the year and mid-term for the next 3-5 years?
Fitzsimmons: The short-term and long-term target is always to meet the specification of our investment products. If we can demonstrate that we can continue to adapt and prosper in this exceptional environment our business will thrive.
e-fundresearch: Which results would you describe in 3 years time as very good, neutral or challenging?
Fitzsimmons: To justify itself the investment industry must deliver appropriate risk-adjusted returns where clients understand the corresponding risks.
e-fundresearch: Are there any role models for you?
Fitzsimmons: George Soros, Nassim Taleb and proven long-term macro investors.
e-fundresearch: What is motivating you in your role as a fund manager?
Fitzsimmons: The satisfaction of correctly understanding the investment environment AND translating this into realisable investment returns for our clients.
e-fundresearch: What would you still like to achieve. What are your further aims in your current role?
Fitzsimmons: My aim is to build our absolute return products to continue to add value in this exceptional business environment. In so doing, Threadneedle´s reputation as a market leader in this product range will be underpinned.
e-fundresearch: Which profession (occupation) would you like to choose, if you were not fund manager?
Fitzsimmons: A medical doctor.
e-fundresearch: Thank you for the interview!