Meet the Manager: Lazard

Meet the Manager: Lazard

In the latest edition of Meet the Manager, BDO Private Wealth sat down with Lazard Global Listed Infrastructure Fund’s Warryn Robertson to delve into the investment philosophy held by the fund,, his extensive experience with the company, and the key considerations for investors navigating the current economic landscape.

Warryn boasts nearly three decades of experience in the world of investment, currently serving as both a portfolio manager and analyst for Lazard, with a focus on the global listed infrastructure and global equity franchises.

Investment Philosophy and Approach

Launched in 2005, the Lazard Global Listed Infrastructure Fund primarily targets certain infrastructure investments it deems "preferred infrastructure". These preferred infrastructure assets typically exhibit inflation-linked explicit or implicit returns and tend to be essential services that help us go about our daily lives. Importantly, the fund concentrates on developed market economies, notably within the OECD, avoiding frontier and emerging markets such as China and India.

Warryn describes the fund’s strategy as value-focussed with a concentrated portfolio. Selectively, only about a quarter of infrastructure stocks are considered preferred infrastructure. He states, "We are unashamedly a value-based manager, which means we very much care about the price that we pay for the assets that we're buyaing."

Warryn suggests that the Lazard Global Listed Infrastructure Fund occupies a unique position in investors' portfolios. It falls between the traditional risk spectrum, landing in a territory between cash and equities, making it an appealing choice for those looking for assets with lower risk than equities but more potential for returns than conventional fixed-interest investments. Moreover, it offers global diversification and the inclusion of essential service assets with inflation linkage -a feature expected to gain significance in a rising inflationary environment.

Inflation concerns

Addressing concerns in today's investment landscape, Warryn joins many in the industry whose focus remains on inflation and interest rates. Lazard's view is that inflation is likely to persist over the next three to five years, in contrast to the short-term perspective held by some. They anticipate inflation rates to remain above the two to three per cent target range of most central banks, though potentially subdued from peaks seen during the pandemic. This outlook shapes their investment strategy, favouring certain assets within the infrastructure space. Simultaneously, they exercise caution regarding utilities and other sectors due to the looming threat of higher inflation and the heightened risk of recession.

To learn more about Warryn and the Lazard Global Listed Infrastructure Fund, watch the full interview here. If you wish to discuss your investment portfolio's positioning in light of your financial goals and market conditions, please reach out to BDO’s team of Private Wealth advisers.

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