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Graham Bentley, a non-executive director at Marlborough International, talks about active investing, Brexit and his plans for building a £1bn business

As an active fund manager, how are you responding to rising demand for passives?

There are some markets where it is exceedingly difficult to make a consistent excess return. The US is a good example.

If, like Marlborough, you have a smallcap focus, the patience to hold stocks and you are looking to the correct benchmark, you can say, hand on heart, to clients, “That’s what you are paying for”.

I don’t have an issue with passives and, as an investor, I own them. This zealotry about passive-only or active-only doesn’t make sense, though I can understand the guilt that a closet tracker might feel.

Marlborough’s raison d’être is about providing alpha. For some people, it is a tough position to hold and to be upfront.

You need to be able to demonstrate a consistency of approach, which is easier when you have a 20-year track record, rather than saying, “We’ve had a pretty good bull run since 2008, so haven’t we done well?”.

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About International Adviser

As well as all the regular news and features, the July/August edition of IA continues our quest for raising the bar of professional standards as we profile Jocelyn Wright, who runs Ascension Wealth Management in the US city of Philadelphia. She makes the urgent point that there are not enough people in the financial advisory space who reflect the wider community.
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