"More food for the brain"

Jags walia - senior portfolio manager

Jags, your first 100 days as a senior portfolio manager infrastructure at Kempen Capital Management have now past! How do you like it here?

Very well, I am very happy with my switch to Kempen. At my previous employer I only focused on shares in the oil and gas sector, a relatively limited sector. Together with Thomas van der Meij I now manage infrastructure shares and that universe is so much wider. It gives me a lot of "food for the brain" and that makes it a great challenge. So many more companies and new sectors to follow.

How do you handle that?

Thomas and I both follow six clusters. For example, one of these clusters consists of companies that construct and manages pipelines. I also analyzed those companies in my previous position. Other clusters that are new to me are ports or toll roads. The way these organizations make money is still the same as a few years ago. So I know the business models, I've seen a lot in the last 24 years, but the companies themselves have obviously changed. That is why I mostly read a lot and study research. And I'm talking to companies or analysts to get a good and complete overview.

How many shares do you follow?

In total I follow 75 shares, that is a lot. The plan is to be 100% up to speed in the coming two years in terms of knowledge of all those shares. We invest globally, so the day starts with Asia. I look for strange movements or peaks in the prices of Asian companies and find out what caused them. There is a network of on-site analysts who can assist with this. We also monitor European, American and Canadian stocks throughout the day. When valuing a share, we pay attention to three qualitative factors: local rules for infrastructure, quality of management and the ESG factors (Environmental, Social and Governance). Conducting a dialogue with fund managers and companies on a responsible corporate policy is an important part of our work as an investor. This is what we mean by engagement. We even do this at companies in which we do not yet invest. Precisely to make them attractive in the future.

The infrastructure fund was launched in January. What do you pay attention to in such a start-up phase of a new investment fund?

In this phase, the awareness of the fund and how well the fund performs are the most important. Regarding performance, it is of course about good stock picking. And we are working hard on the name recognition of the fund.

Do you work together with Van Lanschot?

Yes, events and carousels are organized through Mark van Wijngaarden in collaboration with Van Lanschot. We meet private clients of Van Lanschot who are interested in investing in our fund and then talk about our investment process. Previously I had zero contact with private customers. These events make it very personal and direct, which I really enjoy.

And how are your new colleagues?

Infrastructure, together with real estate, forms the category "real assets", so we are together with the real estate team at level 12 on Beethovenstraat. It's great with those colleagues. Everyone is friendly and open, giving you the feeling that you can say everything you think. Many jokes are made! I used to suffer from Sunday evening blues, I don't have that any longer.