WAM distinguishes itself within the traditional world of asset management by thinking like an owner. This stems from Edward Whitley’s own experience of managing the proceeds of the sale of his shareholding in Greenall Whitley. This capital had been accumulated over several generations. Edward’s management of this capital over the ten years between 1990 and 2000 formed the backbone of the investment philosophy that defines WAM.
Within the WAM team we thoroughly understand that our clients’ capital is irreplaceable. We appreciate the responsibility of safeguarding capital for future generations and the pressure this brings. We understand the pain of seeing capital lose value and we understand that capital preservation is a dynamic and vigilant activity.
The prime distinction that we draw between our approach and that of many traditional financial institutions is that we are privately owned and impartial. Within the general private client investment industry, we have seen portfolio management compromised by issues such as the use of overpriced, underperforming in-house funds, high staff turnover and poorly planned asset allocations, leading to mediocre service and performance.
Since WAM is impartial as to where any investment is made, the team focuses entirely upon investment strategy, performance and our service to our clients.
WAM has no inducements to place funds in any particular investment. Our remuneration is transparent with no hidden incentive structures. WAM is not compromised by offering in-house funds or financial products which might have higher fees than others.
Finally, wherever possible, WAM negotiates fees on our clients’ behalf down to highly competitive levels.
WAM has long sought to protect our clients’ capital from risks associated with irresponsible investment, and these concerns are built into the fabric of the firm. Edward Whitley founded the Whitley Fund for Nature in 1993 to offer funding and support to the most effective grassroots conservationists around the world. To date the charity has given over £18m to more than 200 conservationists in 80 countries across the Global South. WAM’s co-founder and director, Louise Rettie, worked as Grants Manager for the Royal Geographical Society before founding WAM with Edward in 2002.
We recognise that we are early in our responsible investing journey and are fortunate to have access to a remarkable community of investors, data providers and not-for-profits.
WAM’s aim is fully to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) analysis into our investment process. In doing so we aim to reduce the environmental impact of our investments, ensure that companies we invest in are run for the benefit of all stakeholders and implement governance policies and practices that ensure the long-term sustainability of businesses and their practices. Our Responsible Investment policy sets out how we plan to achieve this through our ESG investing framework and our wider business ESG policy.
WAM has committed to measuring and offsetting our carbon footprint.
Since 2020, this has been achieved by planting trees in the UK. WAM is currently working on partnering with the Whitley Fund for Nature on a carbon offset scheme with the Brazilian environmental NGO IPÊ, which can be found in more detail here.