Denny Fish is a portfolio manager at Janus Henderson, an asset manager responsible for £272.5bn of client money. Since 2016, Denny has run Janus Henderson’s global technology and innovation strategy and is head of the firm's technology sector research team.
In this week’s episode of Opto Sessions, Fish explains how his fascination for tech stretches back to his time in Palo Alto, where he worked for cloud giant Oracle [ORCL] in the late 90s. In answering Opto’s quickfire questions, Fish explored some of the aspects of investing in technology.
What's your biggest source of alpha?
Being a deep industry participant gives you the confidence to trust your instincts to get behind ideas that aren't always comfortable. When investing in technology and in disruption, there's always this balance between excitement in terms of the opportunity and the discomfort of the uncertainty and, sometimes, the valuation that you have to pay in the near term to be proven right over a multi-year period. I would say striking that balance has helped me professionally.
Also, what's really important to successful investing is that you're learning every day. What worked for you a year ago might work going forward, but there's always nuance and change, adaptation and evolution. There are a lot of really smart people out there that you can learn from. It's important to understand that and stay humble, and not get too caught in your ways. Always be open-minded but have a very disciplined process by which you operate with.
“Always be open-minded but have a very disciplined process by which you operate with”
Why do you go for investment or economic insights?
More and more I use Twitter because there are an amazing group of individuals globally that have really unique insights and that are very open to sharing those insights and looking for people to debate with.
It's really unique because you get this combination of people that are investors and people that are practitioners. You can garner some really interesting insights from the platform.
What's the most memorable moment from your career to date?
Maybe it's because it's fresh in my mind but unfortunately, it was earlier this year. We faced an environment where the market lost more value in a faster period of time than it ever had in history. It was due to an event that was immediate and required a degree of decision making that we just haven't seen. If we go back through other crises, like the global financial crisis, it was what I refer to as a slow-moving train wreck. Even in the dotcom bubble, there were kind of fits and starts, but there was time to assess it.
But recently, there was virtually zero time. You really had to think hard about who was going to benefit, who was really going to feel the pain and how you wanted to be positioned for a really wide range of outcomes on the economy and business models and so forth. I think that one tops them all.
“If we go back through other crises, like the global financial crisis, it was what I refer to as a slow-moving train wreck. Even in the dotcom bubble, there were kind of fits and starts, but there was time to assess it”
What’s the top mistake investors make?
Thinking too small.
To hear more from Fish, like his opinion on what the future might hold for tech stocks, listen to the full episode here.
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