The people behind the process
Continuing my ongoing series of interviews with Montgomery staff, where I lift the lid and see what makes the people behind the process and the impressive numbers tick, I catch up with Christopher Demasi, Co-Portfolio Manager for the Montgomery Global Fund and Senior Analyst for the Montaka Global Fund.
Profile: Christopher Demasi
What initially drew you into funds management?
As a profession the appeal of funds management is that it is inherently a meritocracy, much like a lot of competitive sports. Performance is readily measurable which requires individuals to be responsible and accountable to their clients and themselves. The onus is on the fund manager to continually look for ways to learn and improve, which creates a motivating environment and a great sense of fulfilment after each hard day’s work.
What makes a successful investor?
In my mind successful investors are always curious to learn more; willing to question concepts and ideas; honest with themselves about what they do and don’t understand; and have an unwavering desire to do their best and be the best. The combination of these qualities should prove to be powerful and rewarding for an investor’s clients.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
From a very young age my mum always told me to “make every post a winner”. In investing as in much of life it is important to work hard so that you are prepared to grab hold of each opportunity as it arises. There may not be a second chance so you better be ready to seize the moment.
What is the biggest mistake that most investors make?
Overconfidence. Being overconfident is not only a highly prevalent flaw found within the investment community, but also one with significantly adverse consequences for investors and their clients. At Montgomery we share a common belief that there is always a chance things may not develop as we expect. The corollary is that we are continually probing and questioning to manage the downside risk of each investment we hold on behalf of our clients.
If you weren’t a Portfolio Manager, what would you most likely be doing?
I always found numbers and science very intriguing, so I could have seen myself pursuing a vocation in mathematics or physics. That said operating a business and managing a team was something I enjoyed when I ran my own tuition services company throughout university. So it wouldn’t be strange to imagine myself running a business again.
So Chris, if you are happy to share what are you working on at this minute and why?
Our global funds have very wide reach with respect to the countries and sectors we can scour through to unearth bargains on behalf of our clients (and Montaka specifically allows us to profit from gains of extraordinary businesses as well as the declines of deteriorating businesses). This means my plate is full with diverse investment opportunities to research. These include a US consumer brand, a global technology vendor, and a European oil services business, amongst others. Importantly as prices move and our research enables us to better understand different companies and industries, we may find even more attractive investment candidates compared to the ones we had initially pursued. There’s never a dull moment.
What do you do in your spare time?
A lot of my time is devoted to wide reaching research of investment ideas for the global funds we manage, usually by reading. Outside of this, I love watching almost any live sports, with tennis, soccer and the mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs as top priorities.