BUILDING BETTER INSIGHTS
MFS is an active, global asset manager. We employ a uniquely collaborative approach to build better insights for our clients. Our investment approach has three core elements:
As active managers, we believe conducting proprietary research leads to better decisions for our clients. We have fundamental research analysts who develop firsthand, in-depth insight into individual securities. Their efforts are complemented by quantitative analysts who run analytics on securities daily and assess risks at both the security and portfolio levels.
Our investment platform is fully integrated so that the investment staff shares ideas and evaluates opportunities across geographies, across both fundamental and quantitative disciplines, and across companies’ entire capital structure.
The MFS investment staff operates out of nine major financial centers around the world. Being on the ground in local markets helps the analysts understand the customs and traditions that affect regional markets. The firm achieves integration of their efforts by organizing the entire investment staff into eight global sector teams. Each sector team comprises all the analysts who cover companies in the same sector, such as leisure or financial services, around the world.
The sector teams include both fundamental and quantitative, equity and credit analysts. Portfolio managers are members of the sector teams as well. This integrated structure brings together diverse opinions while also providing a global context to every decision.
We think teams with multiple perspectives make better decisions than individuals or groups focused on one region of the world or investment discipline. Our global sector teams naturally foster collaboration, but we go many steps further to drive communication across the platform.
We hire investment staff as research analysts so they can become inculcated in the MFS culture early in their careers. Some become career analysts, while others move on to manage portfolios. Almost all of our portfolio managers rose from within the firm. Individuals who prefer star systems that put individual performance above the team do not function well in our environment.
Our compensation system rewards collaboration. Every member of the investment staff undergoes a 360-degree peer review in which managers, peers, and any direct reports assess how effectively that person contributes to the entire team. The results of these assessments influence a third of each person’s annual incentive compensation.
We believe our collaborative environment is one of our key competitive advantages, enabling us to build better insights for our clients.
Active Risk Management
We actively oversee the risk of our portfolios with two objectives in mind – to manage risk exposure and to ensure our results come from the dimension where we believe we can add the greatest value - security selection.
Risk management is an intrinsic part of our entire investment process, and it is the responsibility of every member of the investment team. Even though our quantitative analysts are the ones who run risk metrics for securities and portfolios, our fundamental analysts are expected to make qualitative assessments of the risks of securities they follow. Additionally, our quantitative analysts also evaluate securities, manage portfolios, and collaborate with their fundamental peers on how to add returns to a portfolio without taking on excessive risk. That keeps the team charged with measuring risk always conscious of how to generate alpha for our clients.
As an active manager, we always aim to manage, not eliminate, risk because we understand that clients look to us to generate greater returns than can be achieved from portfolios tied to a benchmark.
In essence, our risk management efforts help ensure that the insights we derive from our research and analytical work are directed where they can offer the greatest value to our clients.