International Equity Alpha
Schroders International Equity Alpha strategy seeks long-term capital appreciation through investment in securities markets outside the United States.
Schroders’ International Alpha strategy is focused on fundamental research, aimed at delivering strong outperformance over the longer term within the context of a risk management framework. We seek to invest in stocks that we expect to deliver forward earnings growth that will exceed the market’s expectations i.e. stocks with a positive 'growth gap'. We focus on only the very best investment ideas that are identified by Schroders’ team of locally based equity analysts and our global and international equities team of Portfolio Managers and Global Sector Specialists (GSS).
The Global and International Equities team is made up of a centralized team of portfolio managers and global sector specialists in London, dedicated to global growth equities, who draw upon work of locally based research analysts in 11 countries. The global sector specialists utilize Schroders' propriety research platform (GRiD) to identify our best ideas from around the world.
We believe that:
- Stocks which deliver positive earnings surprise will produce strong and consistent outperformance over time.
- In-depth fundamental research is the most reliable means of identifying such companies and appraising future earnings growth relative to market expectations.
- Material differences between underlying company fundamentals and market estimates exist due to three persistent market inefficiencies:
- Markets over-reacting to short-term news flow
- Markets extrapolating historic growth and failing to correctly interpret catalysts that change the trajectory of growth
- Markets failing to look far enough ahead when appraising the earnings power of companies
Our investment process can be characterized by four distinct value-adding steps:
1) Filter universe: The team begins with a universe of stocks of approximately 1,800 international companies with market capitalizations greater than $2 billion. The universe is narrowed to approximately 1,000 by combining quantitative screening techniques (e.g. screening for sufficient size, liquidity, and financial metrics) with a qualitative review by Schroders teams of regional equity analysts located in 11 countries worldwide. The final group of approximately 1,000 stocks is subject to proprietary company modeling. Based on this work, each company is graded on a scale of ‘1 to 4’, with a grade of ‘1’ indicating a ‘strong buy’ recommendation, down to ‘4’ indicating a ‘strong sell’ recommendation. In this context, stocks are evaluated and rated relative to ‘local’ market peers.
2) Global and local research overlay: The GSS focus their initial work on stocks ranked ‘1’ or ‘2’ by the regional analysts, given that these constitute the strongest stock ideas within the respective regions. The GSS however are not bound by these recommendations and can and will identify interesting stocks which have not been given a ‘1’ or ‘2’ rating. The GSS team assess the modeling and analysis of the regional teams based on an independent view of growth- and risk- drivers. The GSS re-frame the investment recommendations relative to global sector dynamics and reflecting a global opportunity set.
This overlay serves to identify approximately 300 stocks which are considered potentially attractive stock ideas for further work and analysis.
3) Stock selection: Drawing on the condensed list of stocks, the GSS team focus on identifying companies which best capture the growth and risk characteristics that underpin the team’s investment philosophy. The GSS build detailed earnings and cash flow models, conduct meetings with company management to develop their investment thesis and devise an earnings roadmap for each stock, identifying where and why their view on a company’s forward earnings growth differs from consensus expectations. We also use proprietary quant screens, developed in-house by the Global and International Equity team, to confirm or challenge these fundamental views.
The GSS also develop a comprehensive risk score based on the fundamental analysis for each stock, which incorporates a wide range of risk factors from operational and financial, to strategic and ESG. The view on risk will be informed by the GSSs’ financial modeling, analysis and insight from Schroder’s ESG team, and meetings with company management, usually attended collectively by the relevant regional equity analysts, Global Sector Specialist and ESG Specialist.
Based on this work, the team’s GSS present stock recommendations for their respective sectors for potential inclusion in client portfolios. These stock recommendations will be characterized by a positive growth gap underpinning an expectation of share price outperformance and a detailed assessment of fundamental risk.
Stocks are categorized within the portfolio as either a Core or an Opportunistic holding. The classification is a means of expressing the expected holding period for each stock within the portfolio, and is largely a function of the sustainability of the growth gap and the time horizon over which the growth gap has been identified.
4) Portfolio construction and risk control measures: Utilizing these recommendations, the team’s portfolio managers collectively consider the merits of each recommendation in terms of a stock’s upside potential, downside risk and level of conviction around the presented investment thesis. Once concluded, each portfolio manager has discretion to apply relevant recommendations to the specific portfolios for which she or he has responsibility, bearing in mind the specified performance and risk guidelines and any client-specific guidelines, such as the application of exclusion lists and ethical screens. Ultimately, portfolio construction and position sizes are driven by our thorough assessment of the growth gap, our relative conviction, the stock’s liquidity and our fundamental risk assessment of the company.
We believe that the following factors give us a sustainable edge in the management of global and international equity portfolios:
Well-resourced, highly experienced team
- Highly experienced in global investing
- Organized in a manner most suited to the global equity environment, (coupling local regional coverage with a global sector perspective)
- Supported by a robust research platform: Schroders has a network of regional equity analysts located across 11 countries worldwide, and all research notes and third-party reports are easily accessible though the firm’s intranet research database
Effective, bottom-up investment process
- Fundamental stock research and analysis is combined with a detailed assessment of the fundamental risk of owning each stock
- Process seeks to exploit specific inefficiencies identified across global equity markets
- Focus on trying to identify companies which will deliver a positive earnings surprise or “growth gap”
- Expansive global coverage
- Final portfolio reflects only the team’s very best ideas
Robust, multi-layered and innovative approach to risk
- Dynamic fundamental risk scoring framework incorporates a comprehensive analysis of multiple sources of stock risk (operational, financial, strategic, geo-political, management and ESG) into our assessment of return expectations
- Framework delivers systematic and objective fundamental risk scores for each stock in the portfolio, used in conjunction with statistical risk analysis for comprehensive visual assessment, position sizing and portfolio construction
- Disciplined approach to portfolio risk management with multiple layers of oversight and continual review, to drive return consistency