A Q&A with Hamish Chamberlayne, Investment Manager for Henderson Global Investors. Tomorrow we’ll take a closer look at the SRI funds under his management.
1. What’s your name and what is your job title?
Hamish Chamberlayne, Investment Manager
2. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be David Attenborough.
3. How did you get into fund management and sustainable, ethical or socially responsible investment specifically?
I have always been interested in thematic investing and in trying to understand the big trends that are shaping the world we live in. I started my investment career as a global generalist analyst before spending some time specialising in energy and resources. When the opportunity arose to manage a sustainable and responsible investment fund it seemed like a natural next step.
4. We “want the world to be as blue and green tomorrow as it was yesterday”. What’s your personal mission?
To demonstrate that sustainable and responsible investment makes sense from both a financial standpoint and an ecological and societal standpoint.
5. What one thing would you encourage readers to do to make their life more sustainable?
Invest in a sustainable fund – directing capital towards sustainable businesses can be a good way to promote positive change and has the potential to make money at the same time.
6. You’re made Chancellor of the Exchequer. What’s the central reform of your first budget?
I wouldn’t sell the government’s stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Instead, I would work with the Bank of England to set up a new funding for lending programme targeting household renewable and energy efficiency investment. Despite the fact that many of these investments already make sense from a financial return perspective, too many households do not have enough income or savings to take advantage of them. My programme would give rise to productive lending, since it would enable households to reduce their energy costs; their additional disposable income would be used to pay down the loan. It would also lead to economic growth because of job creation, and households should have more disposable income from their energy savings, even after interest payments.
7. What’s the one investment idea that you think could change the world for the better?
There isn’t just one, there are many. There is a delicate balance between environmental and social sustainability; but one of the things that unifies the two is productivity. Any company that develops products or solutions that enhance productivity, whether it be in the way we use our resources or the way we provide essential services to an ageing society, is contributing to the sustainability of human life on this planet.
8. Who or what inspires you most?
Anyone with a pragmatic and positive attitude. Elon Musk is not going to change the world by himself. It needs everyone. All of us can contribute to a sustainable society.
9. What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given? And the worst?
The Australian composer and comedian Tim Minchin gave an address at the University of Western Australia 2013 graduation ceremony (a video and transcript of it can be found by searching online). It contains some excellent advice, but the two points that I always remember are: “define yourself by what you love”, and “respect people with less power than you”.
I tend to forget bad advice.
10. If you were stuck on a desert island, which famous person would you like to be stuck with and why?
Bear Grylls. Because he’d get me off it.