Sarasin & Partners’ strong sustainability edge continues to propel growth

Sarasin & Partners, a global investment manager which invests thematically and sustainably on behalf of charities, private clients and institutions, saw a 14 per cent increase in assets under management and administration (AuMA) in 2020 – defying a year dominated by Covid-19 turbulence.

While Sarasin’s AuMA climbed from GBP15.1 billion to GBP17.2 billion over the course of 2020, the strong momentum has continued over the course of 2021 – with AuMA reaching in excess of GBP20 billion.

Despite a volatile year for investment markets due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all areas of the Sarasin & Partners business grew AuMA in 2020, leading to an overall revenue increase of 9 per cent to GBP64.9 million and operating profits up 22 per cent to GBP33.8 million. The Charities division delivered a 7 per cent rise in AuMA over the period, maintaining its position as a market leader in the not-for-profit and charities sector in the UK. Elsewhere, the Private Client division ended the year with a 15 per cent jump in AuMA, to GBP4.7 billion. This was driven by a combination of investment performance and net inflows. The retail and institutional divisions were also buoyed by the strengthening of distribution capabilities – with the business notably building out its institutional presence in North America.

The growth in AuMA follows a stellar year in terms of investment performance for Sarasin & Partners’ thematic global equity and multi-asset ranges. Managing Partner Guy Matthews explains: “Much of our focus in the last year has been on delivering for clients during the volatility caused by the pandemic – as well as Brexit and the US elections. The investment teams across the business have worked hard to position portfolios to weather the storm, while ensuring clients were well informed.”

Sarasin’s pioneering global thematic approach to investing, which has underpinned the group’s equity selection process since 1996, looks to capitalise on long-term secular megatrends shaping the global economy – such as ageing, digitalisation, automation, evolving consumption and climate change. It is also committed to responsible stewardship principles, including embedded ESG analysis and active ownership. By tapping into long-term growth trends, the group’s solutions are better able to weather short-term shocks, such as those witnessed in 2020.

Sarasin & Partners’ balanced multi-asset portfolios particularly helped navigate clients through the turbulence created by the coronavirus crisis, with a number of solutions building on already robust track records. The launch of a dedicated Tomorrow’s World strategy, complementing thematic strategies such as the Digital Opportunities fund, demonstrated Sarasin & Partners’ continued commitment to innovating and developing strategies aligned with long-term structural changes in society, which can deliver enduring performance.

Sarasin’s positive results can also be attributed to the continued focus on its core UK offering. The decision to close the Dublin branch strengthens this position and allows the group to focus on its UK-based strategies, with recent strategic initiatives including the investment in digital transformation and a brand refresh.

In a year where all companies had to re-evaluate business models and supply chains, Sarasin & Partners’ renowned focus on responsible investment and stewardship was pivotal. Sarasin & Partners continued to play an active role engaging with the companies it invests in on behalf of clients, with a focus on long-term value drivers. In addition, the group participated in policy outreach, particularly around climate change, which has seen increased attention in the last year and leading up to COP26.

Matthews adds: “Our purpose is to grow and protect capital for our clients in a way that is aligned with a sustainable society. An important part of this is holding ourselves to the same high standards to which we hold investee companies. Following a stringent review process, we were delighted to be recognised for our commitment to stewardship by the Financial Reporting Council, which recently named us as an official signatory to the revised UK Stewardship Code.”

Against the backdrop of a challenging year, the business also took steps to prioritise the health and wellbeing of its staff, while continuing to deliver outstanding client service and maintaining full operational continuity within the business and across its service providers.

In recognition of Sarasin & Partners’ continued commitment to client service excellence, the group won a PAM Award earlier this year for Client Service Quality – High Net Worth, and was also recognised at the Citywire Adviser Choice Awards, where the group won the award for Best Availability of Sustainable Investment Strategies. In September, Sarasin & Partners’ activities were acknowledged by Charity Times, winning their Charity Investment Management award. 

Matthews adds: “After navigating through one of the most turbulent periods in history, we are determined to build on what has brought us success – the continued investment in our people and technology, as well as the further development of innovative solutions, which will help to secure a sustainable future and deliver enduring value for our clients.”