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Why we focus on the upside
Forthright thinking from James Anderson and Tom Slater, joint managers of Scottish Mortgage

As joint managers of the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, James Anderson and Tom Slater invest globally, seeking out the relatively small group of strong and growing businesses, with enduring competitive advantages.

They are outspoken on the challenges and the opportunities of the modern world and on their views of the investment industry.

James and Tom believe that investment professionals need to play a constructive role in the economic system, helping to build and sustain excellent businesses over the long term. They believe it is not too optimistic to think that supporting such successful enterprises could both improve the world, as well as provide long-term returns for investors.

History shows that stockmarket returns are driven by a small group of big winners and it is the job of the investment manager to identify such companies and then invest in them with conviction.

Tom and James focus on analysing the long-term potential upside for companies. They embrace the inherent uncertainty in this task and accept that there will inevitably be times when they will be proved wrong. This is challenging from a human behavioural point of view, but critically important when investing over time horizons measured in years.

"We try to listen, to learn from those who are smarter than we are."

As investors in a wide range of companies at the forefront of changing the industries in which they operate, James and Tom believe their primary task is to listen and then use the insights gained from those responsible for driving these developments. 

"We don’t know as much as they do."

Technologies are developing at an increasing rate across a wide range of fields. Many of these advances are hugely positive and exciting, at the same time as being complex and often interrelated. In order to help their understanding of such shifts, the managers have sought to expand their information networks well beyond the traditional financial industry voices. James and Tom view the thoughts of those within academia and key industry leaders across a broad variety of geographies and disciplines as being of much greater value to the task of understanding how progress in a few key areas may influence the future of a wide range of companies.

Resolute Optimism aims to share some of these thoughts and ideas which inform Scottish Mortgage, as well as the managers' insights on the challenges and delights of long-term investing.


James Anderson

James joined Baillie Gifford in 1983, becoming a Partner in 1987. He has managed Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust since 2000 and established Baillie Gifford’s Long Term Global Growth team. This team espouses a belief in building benchmark agnostic, concentrated portfolios with an investment horizon in excess of five years.

James was an active member of the group which produced the UK’s Kay Review, a government sponsored paper written in response to the financial crisis, aimed at instilling a more long term and accountable culture in the UK corporate and investment spheres. He chaired the Collective Engagement Working Group which was set up to further the recommendations of the UK’s Kay Review. The Group published a report in December 2013, which led to the setting up of the UK Investor Forum to improve standards of investor and company engagement.


Tom Slater

Tom graduated BSc in Computer Science with Mathematics from the University of Edinburgh in 2000 and joined Baillie Gifford in the same year. In 2012 Tom became a Partner at Baillie Gifford. Tom became Deputy Manager of Scottish Mortgage in 2010 and was appointed Joint Manager in January 2015.

Tom’s investment interest is focused on high growth companies both in listed equity markets and as an investor in private companies. Enthused by the West Coast technology entrepreneurs and keen to get a handle on the possible direction of future technology development, Tom and his family have spent extended periods of time in the San Francisco Bay area in recent years. This has given him the opportunity to get to know some of our existing holdings better and to spend some time scouting for interesting future investments.