Sigurdsen: I was appointed portfolio manager for the renewable energy strategy in 2007. Since June 2008 I have been too running the renewable energy long/short part of Skandia Global Hedge fund with great success. Today I am the lead portfolio manager for the long/short and long only renewable energy strategies with DNB Asset Management.
e-fundresearch: Which benchmark do you adhere to?
Sigurdsen: For the long only portfolios the benchmark is “NEX”, the Wilderhill New Energy Global Innovation Index.
e-fundresearch: Are you also responsible for other funds at the moment? What is the total volume that you manage in all your funds?
Sigurdsen: Me and co-portfolio manager Christian Rom manage approximately 400m EUR in renewable energy mandates. We are supported by a strong team in Oslo.
e-fundresearch: Regarding the performance: which performance did you achieve since the beginning of the year and in the years 2007-2011? Absolutely and relatively to the relevant benchmark?
Sigurdsen: DNB Renewable Energy fund (full years track record)
2008 -59% absolute (-0,4% relative)
2009 +65,4% a (+28,9% r)
2010 +8,3% a (+16,3% r)
2011 -31,6% a (+6,0% r)
DNB ECO Absolute Return fund (full years track record)
2011 +17,4% a.
e-fundresearch: How content are you with your own performance in the last years and this year?
Sigurdsen: The major problem in 2011 was the excess supply in a number of subsectors, weak sovereign balance sheets, slow political processes, weaker financial markets re. project financing and falling natural gas prices. But we are satisfied that our stock selection process is working well as this is the core part of our business model, not only for long-only strategies, but especially for our market neutral Long short product DNB ECO Absolute Return. The fund increased by 17.4% in EUR terms net of fees during 2011 while the sector was down more than 30%. This comes from several medium sized bets with small gains across the board. It will be tough to replicate 2011 in 2012 but we will surely keep our investment strategy and seek to continue to gain from selecting the best ideas from our broad list of bottom-up ideas. We do see opportunities in the market both from irrationality (short side) as well as the long side. We are looking forward to it, and we promise that we will do all we can to ensure that our clients should enjoy a profitable 2012.
e-fundresearch: How are you able to deliver added value for your investors with your performance?
Sigurdsen: The target excess return of our market neutral strategy is 7% to 12%, net of fees. With systematic risk more volatile than ever, the DNB ECO Absolute Return fund provides comfort with its market neutral strategy. Having delivered 17.4% in 2011 and won global recognition the fund is obviously the right product for those seeking steady absolute returns.
e-fundresearch: How long have you been a fund manager already?
Sigurdsen: I joined the technology team at DNB Asset Management in 2005 from Carnegie Securities where I was an equity analyst before. Between 1998 and 2004 I was an equity analyst at Nordea Securities in Oslo, specializing in the IT, Telecom and Media sectors.
e-fundresearch: What kind of capital market situation do we have at the moment? How do you act in this environment? What are the special challenges in this environment?
Sigurdsen: Our 800 strong investment universe is dependent on subsidies and regulation. Both create inefficiencies, prompting suboptimal allocations and irrational decision making by stock buyers, companies and clients alike. Sell-side coverage of the sector remains spotty. The effects should decrease over time as renewables compete on an equal footing with conventional energy. In the meantime, we use the distortions to our advantage.
e-fundresearch: What objectives do you have till the end of the year and in the mid term for the upcoming 3 to 5 years?
Sigurdsen: We are striving for energy security as we must solve the world’s growing energy need. In parallel we must reduce emissions. And renewable energy becomes more price competitive. Given that, renewable energies will continue to outgrow conventional energy and prices continue to come down opening up new markets. We also notice that M&A activity is growing in the space and we continue to see that a number of small to medium renewable companies are being soaked up by larger industrial companies. The trends are still forming, the sector is young. We would like to take up the opportunities that we will be given.
e-fundresearch: Do you model yourself on someone? Any ideals?
Sigurdsen: No, I try to think idependently and develop my own style. I strongly believe in this way.
e-fundresearch: What motivates you in your job?
Sigurdsen: The global stock market is alive almost all the time, so there is never a dull moment. And there is so much you can study and find an angle on that is useful in the market. When you see that your work pays off and you are able to discover issues before the general market, you feel that you have done a good job. This is what motivates me the most. I also believe that business in itself is very interesting, and working as a portfolio manager you learn a lot about businesses, you get very well experience in seeing what works and what does not.
e-fundresearch: What else do you want to achieve or do you have any further aims as a fund manager?
Sigurdsen: I want to further develop a deep understanding for all the various aspects around renewable energy so that I more easily can spot future trends and invest successfully accordingly. I believe there are so many angles around renewable energy and particularly around efficient usage of energy. This will become increasinly important in a world with scare resources, so I would like to develop my level of understanding these issues.
e-fundresearch: What other profession would you have taken interest in, apart from becoming a fund manager?
Sigurdsen: I have been obsessed by the stock market since I was 11 years old, so being a fund manager is a luxury to me as I get the opportunity to work with my biggest interest all day long. Honestly I believe being a fund manager is the best profession that suits me, so I don’t really have any objectives other than this. All I want to achieve is to develop to become a better fund manager all the time.
e-fundresearch: Thank you for the interview!