A Message from our Chief Investment Officer
As independent thinkers, Kopernik Global Investors honors Mikolaj Kopernik in the contemporary investment world. We believe that accomplished investors who trust their own analysis and instincts can generate significant excess returns as a result of market inefficiencies.
The success of an investment management firm is substantially predicated on its philosophy, its investment process, and most importantly, its people. I’m proud of the team we’ve assembled. We have roughly three dozen employees, many of which have a wealth of experience and seniority. Many of us have worked together for years. Our investment professionals, averaging seventeen years of experience, have put up industry leading results at prior firms. We have four traders, working around the clock. On the legal, operations, and administrative front we have a wealth of knowledge, gained over many years, at well-known firms. Because what we do is so differentiated, client communication, sales and service is an especially value added endeavor. Fortunately, our marketing team has a lot of conviction, drive, integrity and experience, averaging sixteen years in the business. Kopernik Global Investors is employee owned!
Philosophically, we view ourselves as owners of businesses and stewards of capital. Managing other people’s money is a great honor and a great responsibility. At the same time, many clients are themselves shouldering great responsibilities for important causes; beneficiaries of retirement plans, charitable foundations, endowments, and other important entities and causes. We can’t under estimate the importance of our mandate. Fortunately, the financial markets are often quite inefficient, presenting opportunities for us to generate substantial value for our clients’ portfolios. Of course, beating the market is a challenging endeavor, which very few are able to accomplish on a sustainable basis. Doing so requires the obvious prerequisites: intelligence, rigorous bottom-up fundamental analysis, conviction, experience and discipline. Importantly, superior performance requires much more. It requires understanding not just intrinsic value, but the sustainability of value. Therefore, a solid bottom-up fundamental must incorporate a top-down understanding of our ever-changing world. This means grasping the “big picture”, the risks, the key drivers, the industry dynamics and geographical challenges. Successful analysis demands independent thought, resolution, and a willingness to be early, out of favor, unpopular. It requires courage of conviction balanced with humility. This is particularly important in this era of unusual fiscal and monetary policy. We believe that our approach works well the vast majority of the time and feel blessed to have launched Kopernik at a time when the market seemed in need of a truly differentiated product. The market continues to be highly correlated. The current environment appears well suited for our investment approach. We also want to highlight the fact that we are committed to staying focused on a small number of strategies and channels and to maintaining a fairly small, manageable level of assets under management. Welcome to Kopernik!
David B. Iben, CFA
A Message from our President
Our Firm borrows its name from Mikolaj Kopernik, better known in the West as Nicolas Copernicus, the Renaissance scientist and philosopher who discovered against great popular scorn that the universe did not in fact revolve around the Earth and that the quantity of money does indeed determine price levels. His record of far-reaching independent thought, courage and determination to truly understand the world around him are timeless traits that may be applied to contemporary investing. Like our namesake, we trust the results of our own analysis even when (especially when) it generates vastly different conclusions from those of the crowd and/or those taught by many academics. We are dedicated to reasoning over convention and to client’s needs above convenience.
Kopernik Global Investors is an employee-owned global equity investment management specialist organized to ensure a culture of client success. We have been in business since July 2013 when we launched three global equity strategies, drawing from the same investment team, philosophy and process. (Mid-2015 we have added another strategy and have no current plans to expand.)
Many of us have worked together previously at predecessor firms. In addition to three dozen experienced employee/owners, the Firm has partnered with leading external service providers to fulfill primary operational functions, including SEI Investments Company (middle & back office support and fund administrator); Heptagon Capital (UCITS Advisor); Morgan Stanley (prime broker); KPMG (tax and audit); Perkins Coie LLP and Walkers Global (legal counsel). Importantly, we have structured Kopernik to put client interests first. In an effort to ensure alignment with our clients, our senior professionals have meaningful investment in our investment funds, most employees have some investment in our funds, we are 100% employee-owned and most of our employees have an ownership stake, and all are eligible to participate in the profit of the firm. We hold company-wide off-sites semi-annually where we continually work to maintain a solid, client-centric culture and work to improve on processes and avoid complacency, facilitate constructive, inclusive communication and encourage questions and challenges to the status quo, and enable team interaction.
In addition to striving for sustainability and excellence in our own companies, we encourage the same for the businesses that we own in your portfolio. We correspond with investee companies to emphasize our view that, because quality and sustainability are important, we support: long-term investment over short-term financial engineering; management equity programs rather than management options that only align management to shareholder upside but not the downside; fair treatment of all stakeholders, including labor, community, environment, and of course, shareholders; and good corporate governance. For example, letters, highlighting our views will be sent out annually to all companies in which we have a meaningful holding.
We feel fortunate to be in the right place, and the right time, with the right people. We are appreciative to have such a solid and well-informed client base, and are thankful for your interest and for the many longstanding relationships. Kopernik is happy to be invested right along with you and are honored to serve you!