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European Assets Trust

Sam tells us all about his passion for sport and how its disciplines help him manage European Assets Trust. Approved by BMO Global Asset Management.

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I’m a generalist, really. At school, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had a broad range of interests, a lot of sports, skateboarding, rugby, cricket, but also really just hanging around with my mates, having fun. That’s what school was about for me. I chose to do economics at university because you know, I enjoyed A level and it’s a good combination of, I guess, maths, a bit of storytelling as well, almost. And yeah, between maths and history. I really liked algebra and I think it’s a natural extension of algebra in the real world really.

After university I sort of fell into my career. I ended up getting a placement in fund management and the things I started at that placement I realised I found the perfect for career for me. Work’s important but my home life is more important, actually, and I spend a lot of time with the family, with mates, a lot of which I made at university. We spend a lot of time socializing, having people over for dinner and, you know, enjoy cooking really tasty food for our friends. I’ve always believed that having a well-rounded life is important.

I do a lot of sports like cricket in the summer, football as well, all year round, and also do a bit of skateboarding again, which I’ve sort of rediscovered having done it as a teenager, which is great fun, very challenging, a lot harder than it used to be when I was 20. And it hurts a lot more when you fall. But it’s a real, real challenge that I’m enjoying.

I also really enjoy reading and I read every night, you know, holidays, if I can, I spend all day reading. It’s a bit hard with the kids. But, you know, I particularly like historical novels understanding how things used to work in the old days, the peculiarities of, you know, I don’t know, 17th century London and the way the people behaved towards each other. I also enjoyed autobiographies and seeing how other people’s lives have gone. I mean, I guess I sort of fell into a job which was really suited me in terms of lots of general interest.

I’m allowed to look at a very broad range of companies that do many different things, sell fizzy drinks in the U.K. to making robotics in Germany, to pharmaceuticals in Denmark. And we have to filter through all these businesses to find the ones which are really going to add value through time. It’s very intellectually challenging. And we get to meet all these really interesting people that have created these businesses, particularly in smaller companies, where you see really interesting entrepreneurs and are passionate about their companies. And that allows me to express myself into the portfolio of the Trust that I manage the team of hugely important.

You know, this is a team process and really important to have a broad range of personalities, perspectives when we’re looking at businesses so that we can really sort of interrogate the qualities of those businesses so that when we make the decision to put them in the portfolio, it gives us the best chance of delivering good returns over the long term.

If I hadn’t become a fund manager, I think I would have enjoyed being an architect and I really enjoyed art as a teenager and I still do a bit of art. It’s a good combination of putting in, I guess, discipline, some logic in combination with art to create these amazing spaces. I ended up falling into this role as a fund manager, which I really enjoy, I feel lucky to have got here.