- Fund invested to benefit from sustainable themes
- Run by an experienced, well-resourced manager
- Fund doesn’t feature on the Wealth 150+ list of our favourite funds
Charlie Thomas is passionate about investing sustainably.
He’s managed the Jupiter Ecology Fund since 2003. He looks for companies that offer solutions to environmental and social problems like pollution, resource scarcity and water shortages.
Charlie Thomas is an experienced, well-resourced manager and we think this is a reasonable choice for a fund focused on sustainability issues. It invests in quite a niche area of the market though, so we expect it to perform differently to other funds in the Global sector.
We currently think there are other funds investing around the globe with better long-term growth potential. That’s why it doesn’t have a place on the Wealth 150+ list of our favourite funds in the major sectors.
How is the fund invested?
Charlie Thomas invests the fund to benefit from sustainable themes. They range from clean energy and transport to water management and pollution control. He thinks these themes will be increasingly important as the global population grows. In Asia alone, demand for food and energy is expected to rise 50% by 2030. Those challenges will have to be met, and so will other environmental issues like climate change.
Even if a company fits one of the fund’s themes, it must also meet the manager’s other criteria. This includes an experienced management team, financial strength and plenty of growth potential.
US company Trimble is one of the fund's most recent investments. It develops GPS technology for use in agriculture, transportation and construction. Its products improve efficiency and reduce wastage, helping businesses become more sustainable.
In contrast, an investment in process automation business Hollysys was sold after a series of governance changes. The manager thinks they could give shareholders less of a say over how the company is run.
How has the fund performed?
The fund has grown 150.8%* over the past 10 years, only beating the FTSE ET100 (an index of environmental technology businesses) by 2.3%. It hasn’t performed as well as its second benchmark, the FTSE World index, which has grown 242.7% over the same time. You should remember past performance isn’t a guide to the future.
Charlie Thomas doesn’t tend to invest much in financials, pharmaceuticals and oil & gas companies because they don’t fit the fund’s themes. But if these areas perform well, it makes it harder for the fund to perform better than the broader global market.
The fund struggled over the past year and performed worse than both its benchmarks. This was partly down to a lack of investments in battery-related companies. They’ve done well recently as investors realised the potential of electric vehicles. The manager isn’t tempted to increase investments in this highly-competitive area. He thinks there’s a risk supply could outweigh demand, forcing companies to cut their prices.
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Past performance is not a guide to the future. Figures shown with income reinvested. Source: *Lipper IM to 31/10/2018