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The books that Janus Henderson managers keep going back to

30 November 2022

Managers of the City of London investment trust, Lowland IT and Henderson EuroTrust highlight books that have helped them in their careers.

By Matteo Anelli,

Reporter, Trustnet

Even the most seasoned investors need to look outside of their own immediate workplace bubble every now and again for inspiration.

Between them, the four investment experts at Janus Henderson below, including veteran stock pickers James Henderson and Job Curtis have more than 100 years of investing experience.

Here they have come up with a diverse list of books and essential reading for all investors, including classic finance titles, a hidden gem and even a photography book.


The classics

Starting with James Henderson, manager of Henderson Opportunities Trust and Lowland Investment Company, his best read on fund management is “still” Adam Smith’s Super Money.

“It was written in the 1960s but is so relevant today. Things don’t change much: fear to greed and back again,” said Henderson.

Another classic that shouldn’t be missed is a biography of the most recognisable name in the finance industry, Warren Buffett.

Job Curtis, manager of the City of London Investment Trust, chose Alice Schroeder’s The Snowball Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, an “excellent explanation” of how Buffett took control of Berkshire Hathaway in 1966 and built it up to one of the largest holding companies in the US, outperforming significantly and becoming “the world’s most successful investor”.

“Schroeder qualified as an accountant and worked in investment banking and so understands the investing and business aspects of Buffett’s life, while also capturing Buffett’s remarkable personality,” he said.

“One can learn a lot from Warren Buffett’s life and career. The book was written in 2008 and needs a sequel because Buffett, now aged 92, remains Chairman and chief executive of Berkshire and a lot more has happened over the past 14 years.”


The gem

Jamie Ross, manager of Henderson Euro Trust, finds most investment books “repetitive and impractical, and often they don’t age well”. However, he selected “a gem” that he keeps coming back to, year after year.

Capital Returns: Investing Through the Capital Cycle, edited by Edward Chancellor, is a collection of meeting notes and investment reports written by the portfolio managers of Marathon Asset Management.

“The beauty of the book is in its simplicity; both in the description of how the capital cycle works but also in the succinctly written meeting notes and investment reports that highlight how a portfolio manager thinks (or should think),” he said.

“The most important lessons that I have taken from this book are to think long term and to ask yourself the question ‘Is this a good business?’ as a first step whenever considering a potential investment.

“This may seem like a simple question, but it leads you in the direction of analysing return on invested capital and how it might be impacted by capital flows and changing industry dynamics. A great book.”


The out-of-the-box pick

Dan Howe, head of investment trusts at Janus Henderson Investors, selected The Image Business: get the picture, tell the story by John Walker and Steve Powell.

This book is the “fascinating” story of how Allsport Photographic, the world’s largest sports photography agency, came to be.

The authors share “candidly” how Allsport identified an opportunity, did the homework, took the risk and ultimately reaped the reward, as Allsport transformed from staff flying on Concorde with rolls of film to catch the New York newspaper print deadline to instantly sending images over telephone lines to multiple publications around the globe.

“This resonated with me, as I strongly believe that whatever your industry, you must constantly be challenging to find the next enhancement and work hard, but ultimately, it will only come to fruition if you back yourself in taking the plunge on an idea,” said Howe.

“Also, I’ve always loved great photography, particularly the way it captures the emotions of sport - both the euphoric highs and the deep lows. Allsport were synonymous with this.

“Punctuated by the infamous photographs that Allsport captured, this book is one you won’t want to put down.”

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