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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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