New strategy calls for additional expertise

Outperforming the market: John Harald Henriksen and Gaute Garshol of Ferd Invest on the hunt for shares that offer extra potential.
Ferd Invest is strengthening its team - and is on the hunt for investments that still offer good potential even after the strong rally seen in the Norwegian stock market.

Ferd Invest reported very good results for the first six months to 2005, which is its first half-year since the launch of its new strategy. The business area is now busy strengthening its team.

“We have recently recruited Gaute Garshol, who brings a great deal of experience to his new role as a portfolio manager for Ferd, and we are now looking to appoint an additional person with some years of stock market experience”, comments John Harald Henriksen,  Executive Vice President, Ferd Invest.

Broadening our expertise
John Harald Henriksen points out that under the new strategy, Ferd Invest will follow more sectors of the stock market than before, and this creates the need for additional investment management expertise.

“Our results will now be measured against the overall performance of the Oslo stock market, whereas we previously worked with a target investment return set for each year. This new approach means that we can, in principle, invest in all sectors of the stock market while we previously focused on a limited number of sectors”, says John Harald Henriksen, who goes on to explain that the new approach does not mean that Ferd Invest will simply try to match its shareholdings to the companies in the stock exchange index.

“Our target is to produce a better return than the index. This means that we will continue to be very selective, and will only invest in shares that we believe offer better than average potential. We have a diversified portfolio, but with particular emphasis on the technology, industry, finance and energy sectors”, adds John Harald Henriksen.

“We are also looking at adding a Nordic perspective to our portfolio, and intend to invest directly in stock markets outside Norway to a greater extent. This will initially mean shares listed on the Stockholm stock exchange”, says Gaute Garshol, the newly recruited investment manager. He explains as an example that there are rather few pharmaceutical companies listed in the Oslo market, and since Ferd Invest intends to prioritise the health sector it will have to invest in foreign companies.

Capital for investment
“The other main feature of the first six months was that we sold rather more shares than normal. This included disposing of a significant shareholding in Storebrand, which has been a too large holding compared to the rest of the portfolio. This means that we are currently sitting on more free capital than we normally expect to hold in cash. We are, of course, working hard to find a good home for this capital, and we are actively evaluating a number of possible investments”, comments John Harald Henriksen.

“We have to take into account that the Norwegian stock market has enjoyed a prolonged and very strong rally. This makes it even more important to weigh up new investments carefully. The real underlying value of shares will be the deciding factor, and this makes detailed analysis all the more important”, explains Gaute Garshol.

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