An Investment Philosophy Based on Three Pillars
Equinox Fund Management is an independent asset management company committed to deliver exceptional risk/return ratios to its investors. We invest in the securities markets of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) since 1996.
We have a fantastic opportunity to invest in a poorly understood and unloved region. Our ability to outperform the market is based on our ability to continually develop a clear vision of the ever-changing rules of the game. We strive to develop ideas and strategies that bring value to our clients, regardless of the economic environment. Our results are underpinned by rigorous investment processes based on fundamental research and strict risk management. We have developed a unique expertise in selecting the best stocks and combining them to build robust, high-performance portfolios. Equinox has delivered annualized returns of 23% to investors between 2000 and 2020.
We have been investing in listed stocks on behalf of our clients since 1996. Which means that we have been through the Russian government debt default in 1998, the commodity crisis in 2008 or the implementation of Western sanctions against Russia in 2014. Thanks to our local presence, we have been able to build strong relationships with many companies and policy makers over the years. Our frequent meetings with business leaders allow us to quickly identify changing trends and closely monitor the progress of our holdings. We are ready to meet the many challenges that Russia will face in the years to come.
We always try to keep things simple. It turns out that it’s easier to make things complex than it is to simplify them. This constant challenge forces us to understand what we are doing and to stay within our circle of competence. We aim to be long-term, buy-and-hold investors. We seek to own only stocks that will compound in value over the years. We do not engage in trading, short selling, market timing, indexing, hedging or any other complex moves. We believe that the more you hold on to something, the more you develop focus and tenacity. Two characteristics that are the most critical factors for success.
Equinox Fund Management aims to offer exceptional risk/return ratios to its clients. For this purpose, we have developed an investment strategy based on three pillars: a concentrated portfolio, an active ownership approach and a long-term perspective. Each pillar contributes to improving our risk management and maximizing our performance.
While we constantly monitor the changing rules of the game, we have a bottom-up approach. We tend to implement one to two investment ideas per year. We generate them thanks to our research on Russia and the CIS, our engineering background and our understanding of what is happening in Europe and the United States. Before we invest in a company, we conduct the most thorough research possible. Over the decades, we have developed a reliable and rigorous framework for evaluating them. Our successes and especially our mistakes have allowed us to constantly improve it. We focus mainly on different criteria such as upside potential, market capitalization, free float, ownership, leadership, strategy, dividend policy and political risk. This in-depth analysis is complemented by on-the-ground research conducted by our Moscow-based team. We believe that understanding a company is the first tool at our disposal to limit our risk and maximize our gains. This investment philosophy requires us to invest in a limited number of securities. We think like Charlie Munger that: “The goal of investment is to find situations where it is safe not to diversify.”
Active ownership is the second tool we use to reduce risk and improve our investment returns. This involves engaging with and advising the companies in which we invest. In practical terms, it includes promoting independent non-executive directors, dividend policy, improving transparency, disclosure and protecting the rights of minority shareholders. In Russia and the CIS, active ownership is an essential means of initiating positive change within a company. Engaging in constructive dialogue is usually more effective than divestment. Environmental and social issues are primarily driven in Russia by improving corporate governance. We have been a member of the Russian Association of Institutional Investors (API) since 2003. Voting at AGMs/EGMs is an important way for us to communicate our views to companies and their management. Over the years, we have also frequently interacted with governments, stock exchanges, regulators, standards bodies, industry initiatives and other market players. Our main objective is always to promote the improvement of the institutional and legal framework.
Having a long-term investment approach is the logical continuation of our first investments: being concentrated and active. We cannot predict a company’s stock price in the short term. However, over the long term, we can reasonably anticipate the appreciation of its performance if we remain disciplined. This requires patience. We like to say that we don’t buy stocks, we own companies. And our goal is simply to own the most exceptional ones we can find. We are most of the time fully invested and tend to hold our positions between 5 and 10 years in our portfolio. We believe it is essential to align our investment horizon with the business plans of the companies we invest in. This is how we can take advantage of the unique ability of companies to build shareholder wealth over time and let the magic of compound interest work. We have been investing in Russia and the CIS for over 25 years, giving us one of the longest track records in this market.
We do not define risk by short term volatility but by the probability of losing money in the long term. We believe that there is a profound difference between a volatile stock and a volatile business. There might be fluctuations in the share price of a company, but if the underlying business is strong and secure, there is reason to stay invested. We are regularly checking our selected companies against a set of investment criteria, such as ownership, leadership and business strategy. Holding cash or safer assets in times of adverse markets is part of the strategy. We are committed to achieving superior absolute returns while monitoring the risk inherent to the region. Equinox has delivered 23% annualized returns to investors from 2000 to 2020, and is set to continue driving performance going forward.
Equinox Fund Management is a company with a straightforward vision. Meet our uniquely collaborative and passionate team.