David Taylor, CFA
Portfolio Manager, Smartshares
What are some of your career highlights so far?
I’ve been fortunate to work for some great organisations which has exposed me to really good mentors throughout my career. I started off working for ANZ in Auckland, before moving to Schroders in London. I am now a Portfolio Manager at Smartshares based in Auckland where I focus on diversified funds, currency hedging and third-party managers. Smartshares is currently in a growth phase which presents me with ongoing opportunities across the many moving parts of the business.
Exposure to the UK enabled me to see how a large global fund manager operates with the responsibility of over 1tn NZD. We even had the Queen open our new offices in my time there. With over 3,000 employees in the London headquarters, I was a small cog in a large wheel, however upon returning to NZ this experience made me appreciate the level of influence you are afforded in a much smaller market, and as a result how many opportunities this opens up.
Highlights also include being part of the Superlife Default Kiwisaver launch and more recently working on the investment transition of a large acquisition.
What do you like most about your job/industry?
The markets are always changing, and no two days are the same. The markets help put everything into perspective. For me, the industry strikes the right balance of technology, networking, and core fundamentals.
I am part of a small team and enjoy the scope of work and the responsibility that comes with this. I have the ability to hone into my areas of interests and make a meaningful impact to the final product. Being at the coal face is what challenges me in the role and keeps it all interesting.
The industry is constantly evolving and with change comes opportunities to learn. I enjoy networking with other fund managers to see how processes can be optimised so that we continue to do more with less. I am currently studying towards the CFA Certificate of ESG Investing.
What are your interests outside work?
Two things take up the majority of my time outside of work now; The first, I am enjoying being a new father to my 3-month-old boy, Austin. The second is the renovation of a 1920s bungalow which has required a lot of elbow grease and YouTube referencing – a good excuse to buy as many tools as possible!
I enjoy traveling although the extra weight of lugging a small child around now will most likely mean a change of pace from my backpacking days.
I play squash and am part of a local business league, I find this is a great way to start the week.
Can you recommend some good reading and/or viewing?
Red Notice was a good read. I am big on podcasts and would recommend NPR Planet Money, Bloomberg’s Odd lots, and Hidden Brain.
Make a prediction for 2027
The current shift from active to passive will persist, NZ will continue to play catch up with the rest of the world and by 2027 my prediction is, 25% of NZ funds will be managed under a passive or systematic strategy. Custom indexes will become much more cost efficient and support this trend.
ESG will be playing an even larger role than today, flows into ESG products will continue to increase and ESG versions of the traditional benchmarks will slowly become the new norm.