Greetings from HCP Group Chairman and Vice-Chairman

HCP Group’s annual general meeting elected a new board of directors for the company on September 28th, 2020. The new chairman of the board is HCP’s partner and board member Timo Vertala, and the new vice-chairman is HCP’s newest partner, Cobbleyard Real Estate CEO Christoffer Sundberg.

HCP Group chairman of the board Timo Vertala (left) and vice-chairman of the board Christoffer Sundberg (right).

HCP Group chairman of the board Timo Vertala (left) and vice-chairman of the board Christoffer Sundberg (right).

Timo Vertala, you were elected as HCP Group’s new chairman of the board at the board’s inaugural meeting 29.9.2020. Congratulations! Tell us about yourself and how you are doing.

Thank you. Firstly I would like to thank my predecessor Elias Koski and I would like to wish him continued success in his role as chairman of the board of Helsinki Capital Partners fund management company.

I have worked in various executive positions and been a partner at HCP since 2010 and a board member since 2011. Chairmanship of the HCP Group board was the next natural step for me, and I am grateful for the trust shown by the other partners towards me and the rest of the new board.

Could you tell us more about the new board?

Work within a board of directors is teamwork, and I am convinced that we will achieve results with the board of directors we have elected. Other elected board directors in addition to myself were HCP’s founding partner and CEO Tommi Kemppainen, compliance officer and partner Juhani Halminen as well as our strategic investor, Cobbleyard Real Estate CEO Christoffer Sundberg.

The board members complement and support each other with their backgrounds, experience, and professional expertise.

The year 2020 has unarguably been a year of change in the world and in financial services. What particularly will you stress in the work of the board?

The world is changing radically and quickly. As a smaller company, HCP has the resources and expertise to react to things much more quickly than bigger asset managers. When the environment changes, you have to change – and this is why companies need to actively renew in order to survive and to thrive.

I will in particular focus on transparency in decision-making and ensure that HCP’s strategy is implemented appropriately and with measurable results by operating personnel.

You mentioned the importance of active renewal. Can you explain in more detail what this means for HCP’s strategic development in the current market?

Our funds are managed by our four-person investment team, so areas of responsibility are clearly defined and the group works constructively together. As to the firm’s development, we as a company have 13 years of growth experience, and we will continue actively furthering our sales and marketing by using this experience.

In addition to this, we are open to other market opportunities. HCP has historically very strongly focused on publically listed securities and alternative investments. Interest rates are historically low and inflation predictions are unclear, so Finnish institutional investor rightfully seek out also other opportunities in alternative investments.

Christoffer Sundberg, you became an HCP partner in summer 2020 and were now elected as a board member and vice-chairman. Could you tell us about yourself and about how you ended up investing in HCP?

I am a professional investor and have been an investor in HCP’s funds for several years now. First, HCP’s story of how to manage external assets and invest responsibly awoke my interest. I got to follow the company quite closely for a few years and my interest only grew. When an opportunity opened up to further intensify our cooperation, I immediately took it.

You have a long career in real-estate investing and in managing real-estate funds. How would you describe the current market situation in Finland and the Nordics for real estate?

In Finland, real-estate investing is only approximately 15 years old, when the first institutions-facing investment funds were launched and asset purchases began to be financed through debt in addition to equity. Then or a little bit before, international property investors arrived in the Nordics and in Finland. At the time of writing this, the supply of real-estate funds in Finland or generally opportunities to invest in real estate indirectly has grown quickly. This means that demand has raised property prices to record levels, and often these are justified by an upside in rents (cash-flow). This driver can be questioned, and for example in Stockholm we are seeing a market correction. The same market correction is now arriving in Finland and will be probably be seen in valuations towards the end of the year. It’s hard to predict how big this correction is especially if and when the number of transactions decreases and market-based appraisals do not have the market data they need. Different sectors of real estate (office, commercial, residential, care homes, logistics, hotels, etc.) suffer in their own ways, as the global pandemic has restricted mobility. Big trends in the use of spaces seem to be strengthening.

How can Nordic asset managers best compete with international companies? Where do you see the most interesting opportunities for growth?

Generally real-estate investing is the “odd bird” of asset classes. Returns are relatively low and many investors sell so-called active asset management, which means that value is created locally at the level of the object. This requires local expertise and a local team. These are important elements in implementing active strategies. The downside is that this can give rise to an expensive fee structure, which taxes the immediate return promised to investors. This can create a mismatch that forces the portfolio manager to raise the properties’ risk profile. There is much talk about liquidity risk, which is one of the easiest ways to improve properties’ net returns. Location risk is one of the biggest factors in liquidity risk. How properties are utilized in the future will change in the post-corona world. This creates opportunities for local active asset management. In the short term, listed securities of real-estate companies seem attractive and in the medium term, Nordic direct properties. We still see value in the office and logistics sectors, especially for those implementing active asset management.

HCP Group owns the Helsinki Capital Partners fund management company, whose funds are open to subscriptions until 31st of December 2020. Book a virtual meeting or make a subscription by clicking one of the buttons below.

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Diversifying into Alternative Investments Is Worth It

In February and March this year, we saw a sneak peek of what it looks like when equity markets’ valuations begin to revert to their historical mean. Very quickly, a third of the market’s value disappeared. The graph below shows the S&P 500 index and HCP’s multistrategy fund HCP Black, which makes wide use of alternative investment targets.

In terms of valuation, the equity market did not even reach its historical mean in March. The graph below shows the total market capitalization of American companies (Wilshire Total Market) against US GDP. The y-axis is marked in trillions of dollars (T).

Source: https://www.gurufocus.com/stock-market-valuations.php

Valuations would reach their recession-era historical mean if markets collapsed to a third of their current level.

Source: https://www.gurufocus.com/stock-market-valuations.php

From this we come back to our first graph and the reason why diversifying into alternative investments, such as the HCP Black fund can significantly improve the benefit of diversification and thus decrease an investment portfolio’s risk during economic shocks. If you carry a significant amount of risk in your own business, or maybe you are a startup investor or just a stock investor who felt uncomfortable during the crash in March, this is an opportune time to familiarize yourself with alternative investing. Even a small allocation from the entire portfolio into alternatives can increase the entire portfolio’s resilience through the cycle. Such is the difference between alternative and traditional investments that it can be clearly seen in February’s and March’s returns. More information about our solution for risk management can be found here.

An athlete should definitely make use of tax benefits by funding

To be honest, it is unwise not to utilise the professional athlete fund’s tax benefits.

COVID-19 has shown us how an unexpected outer crisis can suddenly stop whole industries. Practically the whole event planning industry with its subcontractors has been unemployed. Travelling will never be the same. Sports? Cancelled, at least that is how it felt during late spring. In Europe, sports leagues were postponed and cancelled, and in America, huge amounts of cash was used to continue games in sports bubbles. There is no professional athlete in the world who was not or will not be affected by the pandemic during the next few years. What should we think about all this? At least it is obvious that we are all in charge of ourselves and that taking care of one’s personal economy is the best way to tackle the crisis.

Panu Satama

An athlete’s career is significantly shorter than an average working career. A professional athletic career might last for 8-12 years, so the picture can be drawn how much one needs to earn in order to create a foundation for an economically safe post-athletic life. Working in the financial sector, I obviously encourage people to invest their money wisely. However, for athletes it is even more important to learn the importance of personal finances already at a young age, as especially the pros with more valuable contracts have a real possibility to secure their future financially even in a substantially short period of time.

Luckily, the special nature of professional sports does not go unnoticed in Finland, as our system allows athletes to fund a part of their income. Every athlete who earns more than €9,600 p.a. in Finland may fund tax-free up to 50% or €100,000 of their annual income from sports. This way, the taxable income decreases, reducing the athlete’s tax percentage – in some cases even significantly. To add, after retiring from professional sports, the athlete has an opportunity to collect one’s investments in the Athlete Fund within 210 years and pay taxes according to the post-career tax percentage.

We wish to be the athlete’s trusted financial partner and provide help in professional athlete’s investment decisions, real estate-related matters or with banking connections.

We wish to be the athlete’s trusted financial partner and provide help in professional athlete’s investment decisions, real estate-related matters or with banking connections. At HCP, we create a tailor-made investment plan for the athlete, including consultation with taxation and daily finances if necessary.

Timo Vertala and Panu Satama from HCP Sports encourage athletes to get acquainted with sensible spending and investing since the beginning of one’s career.

After retiring from hockey, I started studying economics. My studies in finance have led me from working at a major bank into asset management and now back to my biggest ambition, sports. Being a new shareholder and working with athletes’ asset management, it is easy to say that I have found my place inside the industry. In my opinion, openness and responsibility are key factors in financial services. When it comes to client relations, I want to focus on clear and transparent communication.

Timo Vertala

Vertala joined HCP in 2010 after quitting his career as a professional hockey player. In addition to Finland, Vertala played in Sweden and North America. He got acquainted with athletes’ financial needs already during his own career, and due to his extensive experience at HCP Sports, he is now a respected expert on professional athletes’ asset management.

HCP Sports aims to grow its business by concentrating on personalizing and expanding its services and by building a stronger brand image also internationally. One of our major goals is to be able to provide our fund investment services even for those clients who are residing in North America. In Finland, we believe that there still is a significant marketplace for us to take over. Working with player associations and sports agencies more regularly is one of our objectsand hopefully that way we can build on those relationships even stronger in the future. I believe that a more versatile set of representatives from asset management within player associations would encourage athletes to analyze and compare different investment possibilities more comprehensively and thus make them more interested in their personal finances. In the long run this would be a massive step not only for athletes but also for the player associations.

Let’s hope that the current situation does not completely stop professional sports. We hope to see you around!

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HCP honored with B Corp Certification for the second time

The non-profit organization B Lab granted B Corp Certification to Helsinki Capital Partners for the second time. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance. In order to be recognized as a B Corp, a company must pass the B Impact Assessment (BIA), which measures the impact a company has on its employers, customers, community and environment.

The minimum amount of BIA-points for a certified company is 80. When HCP was certified for the first time in 2017, we were awarded with 97.8 points. In the most recent assessment, our score was 99.9, so we are definitely on track.

B Corp Certification is a sign of success, but there is always room for improvement

Our mission is to be Asset management to be proud of.™ Therefore, the B Impact Assessment is a great way to evaluate if we are working according to our values.

Responsibility governs all our actions, whether it be externally towards our stakeholder groups or internally towards our employees. Responsibility towards our clients manifests in, for instance, full cost transparency. Our funds aim to increase our customers’ wealth by being genuinely active. What additionally serves our customers’ interest is that we care about our employees and give them responsibilities as well as power and freedom. Nowadays all of our permanent employees are HCP shareholders.

Renewing our B Corp Certification shows that we have truly lived up to our mission. However, if we wish to remain worthy of a certificate, we need to constantly evaluate our performance.

“B Corp Impact Assessment shows how we have performed in certain categories. However, there will always be a certain dispersion between our strengths and weaknesses, regardless of the total amount of points that we gain in the evaluation,” says Tommi Kemppainen, CEO of HCP.

“For instance, we had a great success in the impact area of Workers, the total amount of points being 26,5. We excelled in the categories of Health, Wellness & Safety, Career Development as well as Engagement & Satisfaction. On the other hand, the least amount of points was given on Financial Security. It is only justifiable to be brought into daylight that our salaries are 30 percent below industry average.”

“For instance, we had a great success in the impact area of Workers”

Tommi Kemppainen, CEO of HCP

With its own example HCP wishes to encourage the financial sector to conduct business in a responsible way. We have also proved that responsibility and successful asset management can go hand in hand. We share openly each of our fund’s performance, fee structure and compliance and risk management on our website. Being committed to responsibility, this is self-evident for us.

The B Corp movement and stakeholder capitalism – The purpose of business is not limited to maximizing profits

The B Corp movement has its roots in stakeholder capitalism, which strongly questions the ideology behind the traditional shareholder capitalism. Stakeholder capitalism aims to provide a new – and sustainable – model of business, which is not limited to maximizing profits.

The stakeholders in stakeholder capitalism are defined as any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of an organization’s purpose. Such stakeholders are, for instance, employees, customers, communities and the environment. The B Impact Assessment evaluates how a company impacts these groups.

During the last couple of years, stakeholder capitalism has become more mainstream for many reasons. The number one reason is global warming, which cannot be tackled by merely focusing on maximizing profits. A more recent concern is COVID-19, which has caused global unemployment. The financial crisis of 2007–2008, on the other hand, showed us what pure focus on profits at the cost of stakeholders can cause at its worst. In 2019, the flaws of the capitalist economy were brought into daylight, when Financial Times published its new agenda Capitalism: time for a reset.

HCP has discussed corporate social responsibility from the point of view of The Nordic KPI. We present this theme in more detail in our sustainability report.

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About the author

Ville Punsar is taking care of HCP’s communications in autumn 2020. Ville, who follows the world of investing particularly from the point of view of communications, got excited about HCP due to its unique identity. In his opinion, HCP’s tailor-made investment services for professional athletes provide great additional value.

HCP Quant 8/2020 +0.34% | How would a coronavirus vaccine affect investors?

HCP Quant increased +0.34% in August. Benchmark index MSCI ACWI SMID Value Total Return performed better and increased +3.88% in euros. US S&P 500 Total Return increased +5.82% in euros and Europe’s S&P Europe 350 Total Return +2.99%.

Since the beginning of 2020, HCP Quant has still outperformed its benchmark index by more than ten percentage points, as the fund yielded -9.19% and the benchmark index -19.42%. HCP Quant has also outperformed S&P Europe 350 Total Return. Meanwhile, the US S&P Total Return has increased approximately three percentage in euros. The strong performance of S&P 500 is mostly explained by a handful of companies. Year to date return of S&P 495 is negative as well.

The difference in ten year annualized returns between value stocks and growth stocks. Source: Bank of America

Value stocks have had incredibly hard times. According to Bank of America‘s recent report, value stocks experienced their worst decade ever of performance relative to growth stocks.

A combination of low interest rates, little to no inflation, and a global economic slump account for 79% of the return difference between growth and value stocks. Hence, BofA suggests four changes for value investors to improve their returns. BofA’s tips are listed below with my own comments on how they reflect in HCP Quant’s strategy.

  1. Go small
    Value premium of small-cap value companies is bigger than large-cap companies. Small-cap value companies have yielded 5.5% p.a. better than growth companies since 1926. Hence, BofA believes they will continue to be the better alternative in the future.

    Comments: HCP Quant invests in small- and mid-cap value companies, so this is part of the fund’s strategy.

  2. Go for quality
    In order to avoid value traps and dead industries, BofA urges value investors to focus on the quality of the companies. Historically, adding high quality has meant an additional percentage point better annual returns.

    Comments: HCP Quant measures the quality of companies with Piotroski F-Score and Beneish M-Score. A company has to reach a certain level of quality in order to fulfil the fund’s investment criteria.

  3. Watch macro conditions
    Investors need to follow macro economic conditions to avoid false starts and get confirmation of a change in trend. For example, a coronavirus vaccine would likely boost unloved financials and hurt growthy, overbought lockdown portfolios. According to BofA, this trend was evident during last week’s market sell-off, as the Russell 1000 Value index outperformed its growth counterpart by the most since 2008 (see the picture below).

    Comments: Personally, I think investors should avoid market timing. According to several academic studies, investors who do not time the market have better profits. For these reasons, HCP Quant does not try to time the market in any way. An investor who wishes to time the market can, instead, buy or sell shares in the fund according to their view of the macro economic conditions.

  4. Intangible assets
    Investors should abandon the traditional P/B-ratio. Nowadays, intangible assets, such as intellectual property, intellectual property rights and brand value, play a big part, and P/B-ratio does not take them into account. In 2018, a total of 84% of S&P 500 member companies assets were intangible. Hence, BofA urges to prefer adjusted book value over the traditional one.

    Comments: P/B-ratio is not used in HCP Quant’s investment strategy when defining a company’s valuation.

Russell 1000 value and growth index performance for the last ten years.

Since day one, HCP Quant has implemented most of BofA’s views on how to improve profits in value investing. Trying to time the market according to macro economic conditions is up to the investor. However, it is quite obvious that during the last ten years, the market cycle has been favourable to growth stock investors.

According to BofA, a potential trigger for a turn in macro economic conditions could be a successful coronavirus vaccine. The first vaccine can potentially be available as soon as late autumn, and many investors are trying to figure out how it will affect the markets. After interviewing several strategists and portfolio managers about the subject, Bloomberg Businessweek presented three possible scenarios.

If successful, a corona virus vaccine could lead us back to “normal life”, meaning a shift in policymakers’ attitudes toward the extraordinary economic stimulus they’ve poured on. A turnaround in the current politics might end the market celebration of succesful corona vaccine quickly. New central bank money has flooded the markets which has kept stocks flying high. If they change their attitude we might even see a replay of 2013, when investors took fright as the central bank signaled it would wind down the quantitative easing program it began after the financial crisis. Back then, both stocks and bonds fell.

The second scenario would mean a significant boost for stock prices. “If there is anything that would cause a major rally, that (corona vaccine) would have to be it,” says Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Schwab Center for Financial Research. Anyway, it would take a lot of time for the unemployment rate to get back to normal after a vaccine. Central banks would keep the rates low and credit conditions easy in order to revive the economy, whereby the already expensive stocks would continue climbing.

The last scenario would the best one for HCP Quant’s investors: the comeback of value stocks. The current bull market is strange in that most of the gains have been concentrated in a handful of (tech) stocks that investors see as particularly well-suited for the stay-at-home economy. Most of the other stocks have missed out the rally. The vaccine could benefit the markets laggards, for example, airlines and consumer companies selling nonessential items.

A big question for the investors is whether a successful vaccine is already baked in the stock prices. In addition, what will happen if we see a major set-back in the process of producing a vaccine?


September’s subscription date is approaching. You can make a subscription online by clicking the button below. Please remember that the money has to be in the subscription account by September 30th at 4 pm at the latest.

Your value investing optimist,
Pasi Havia
HCP Quant portfolio manager

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“Let’s be careful out there.”
Phil Esterhaus, Hill Street Blues

Ecommerce to thrive even after corona

HCP Focus fund has made particularly high return during last quarter when ecommerce, remote work and other digitalisation trends of society have received an enormous external push during covid-19-lockdown.

The profit for the quarter is +47.9%, thus reversing the loss for the first quarter of the year, while the benchmark index MSCI ACWI IMI Total Return returned +17.8%. The year-to-date profit as of 30 June 2020 is +33.2%, having exceeded the benchmark index’s return of –7.0%.

Clearly, the societal migration to online retail is not only an acute but structural change in consumption, and we expect our holdings to benefit from ecommerce growth directly through our holdings in Amazon, Alibaba, Shopify, Etsy, Facebook (through Facebook Marketplace), MercadoLibre, and Shopify, and indirectely by merchant fees and payment processing through our position in PayPal. You can read the entire analysis from HCP Focus Investor Letter Q2/2020, and below is a short grasp of it.

Intuitive Surgical

Intuitive Surgical’s flag ship product da Vinci Surgical Systems enjoys trust amongst surgeons and the company is looking to alter the next version even more towards to customer feedback. Plans for international expansion are facing challenges due to the high price of the system.

Match Group

We elected to accept shares in the transaction to separate Match Group from its parent InterActiveCorp (IAC). This will provide benefits for shareholders such as the potential elimination of a trading discount and the possibility of new Match being included in major stock indices. The shift to paid subscriptions in software and content as well as normalisation of online dating are favourable for Tinder, and advertising in the app is expected to bring revenue growth in following years.

Amazon, Alibaba and Shopify

The shift to remote work will  benefit Amazon’s and Alibaba’s cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services and Aliyun. Shopify has launched its consumer-facing shopping app Shop putting in into more direct competition with Amazon, while making its revenue more directly exposed to fluctuations in consumer spending.


In HCP Focus Investor Letters we give updates on the fund’s performance, disclose details about specific investment decisions, and highlight noteworthy changes in the fund’s portfolio companies.

HCP Focus Investor Letter Q2/2020

Subscribe to HCP Focus Investor Letter

If you wish to invest in HCP Focus, the next subscription deadline is 30th of September 2020.

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Responsibility highlights of 2019

“2019 was a year of strength and purpose for us. It showed us that we can succeed as a company even better while similarly walking a more responsible path” stated Tommi Kemppainen, our CEO, while writing his opening words for the Sustainability Report of 2019. Our mission has been to become Asset management to be proud of.™ For us, this means to be a trustworthy and altruistic financial actor in a world that needs more transparency, honesty, communality and sustainable actions.

Our Sustainability Report of 2019 is published now. In the video below, Jo Iwasaki talks about our sustainability journey. She found HCP through our B Corporation certification and worked on the implementation of corporate social responsibility at HCP and assembling the report.

We gathered some highlights of our year in terms of sustainability.

Responsibility highlights of 2019

HCP Focus was acknowledged as the best performing long-only equity hedge fund globally in the first quarter of 2019.

The core value we create for our clients is through excellent fund performance. HCP Focus hit records with cumulative 27.95% return 2019. In the beginning of 2020 we calculated that HCP Focus was probably the most consistently top-performing Equity Hedge Fund in the World. The fund’s performance has just continued to improve in the spring of 2020. HCP Focus was ranked the best performing hedge fund in the Nordics in 2020.

We reached our record profit of €447,510.

This states for 22% revenue growth from the previous year. We attained all time high of €94.6 million in assets under management. While emphasising responsibility in our actions more and more we still managed to result in more profitable business, showing that these two can co-exist.

76% of our assets under management were invested in accordance with responsible investment strategies.

We have increased the amount of responsible investments throughout years after we started to measure our impact. We use both negative and positive screening for our funds HCP Focus and HCP Black.

First ever company community meeting.

We brought together all HCP’s stakeholders that don’t necessarily meet in usual conditions – from investors to former employees and trainees, artists we collaborate with, academics and writers, as well as friends and families. The warm gathering in June 2019 was a success and reminded us of the importance of community.

We experienced great #HCPSPIRIT -projects.

10% of our costs were used towards cultural collaborations. With €60.000 as well as multiple working hours we managed to support emerging talents and engage people to meet though common interests. We supported total of 15 #HCPSPIRIT projects.

Best for Workers by B Lab – recognition.

HCP was titled as a flexible workplace with great organisational environment and culture.


HCP Sustainability Report 2019 (PDF)

In the report, you can find more about these themes and how we drive to be more sustainable. You can also find all of our previous sustainability reports here.

Below are our previous publications about being a B Corporation, supporting cultural actors and advocating for transparency.

Purpose and profit CAN go hand-in-hand – being a B Corporation

#HCPSPIRIT – Cultural work as part of existence

Transparency in asset management: kill the hidden fee bogeyman

 

The world changes fast and people expect more from businesses. We should see it as a wind at our back. It is an opportunity for us to improve what we do and how.
– Jo Iwasaki

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About the Author

Anette Tuomainen works as a Junior Communications Specialist at Helsinki Capital Partners as Miika Koskinen, who is responsible for marketing communications and customer experience, is finishing his journalism studies. Anette became excited about HCP for its visionary investing, responsible values and identity attached to cultural actors. From her opinion, these make HCP stand out positively in the investment services industry.

#HCPSPIRIT – Cultural work as part of existence

Soon cultural conventions will start to fill the post-corona streets. During the corona spring we ether haven’t had the same possibilities to arrange events and happening as in other years. Now is a good time to stop for a moment and look back on the collaborations we’ve made in culture, art, music and sports, which we use the #HCPSPIRIT tag for. Where did #HCPSPIRIT start, what have we done and what has it brought to us and our community?

We supported the club-kid collective House of Disappointments when participating to vogue Omniversary Ball in Amsterdam (2019). HOD wants to break gender roles and plays with self expression and accessory they create mainly by themselves from recycled materials.

It all started with empty walls

Our first grasp to cultural collaborations, that we were unaware would later take us deeper to its embrace, were when our office relocated to the Cable Factory. Cable Factory is home to a colourful scale of actors from art schools to creative offices and dance associations. As we moved into the new premises, our empty concrete walls needed something to make them less, well, stony. We had started to get to know the artists in the area and asked them for a solution. The works of artist Luca Delgado just shouted out to become seen and ended up decorating our spaces. Today, our office functions as an alternating art exhibition.

One of our first support projects was the community art work Roinasauna, which was part of the Cable Factory’s Kierrätystehdas event. The sauna toured around Helsinki and was built from recycled material brought by visitors. The event, which encourages an ecological lifestyle, resonated with our value base ​​and we wanted to enable the theme to be expressed through art.

#HCPSPIRIT has since continued to live mainly in the hands of HCP’s employees and the surrounding community. We are a teal organization, ie. a self-imposed organization, in which individual’s wholeness is central. A separate work self and leisure self are an old-fashioned perception of an individual as a part of an organisation. We want to encourage bringing one’s own personalities and interests into working life as well. Good examples of this today are individuals who value responsibility and are not afraid to bring ethical thinking into their workplace. We have ended up taking this further to its own path in #HCPSPIRIT, where we are actively involved in projects that are important to employees. Whether you are interested in art, skateboarding, arctic fishing or voguing, we want you to be a part of them through your work as well.

#HCPSPIRIT is a significant part of being a B Corporation, although our cultural collaborations started before we applied for a B Corporation certificate. B Corporations balance profit and purpose, and through the shared value we create in #HCPSPIRIT, we can be more to our community and ourselves.

In the communal atmosphere of Skeittikontti, the skate container, everyone can try skating in guidance during summers. We were involved in organizing the Concrete Jam X #HCPSPIRIT  (2019) street event and pool party, where nearly 40 skaters competed together regardless of age or gender.

Favela Funk Finlandia documentary (2018) portrayed the lively tour of rap artists Paleface, Gracias and Flam in Rio de Janeiro and São Paolo. HCP was involved in supporting a preparatory trip that sought stories from the world of favelas and rhythmic music.

Artist Luca Delgado has been closely involved in our community since 2016. Luca’s live painting at Tenho Restobar (2018) illustrated how art is created on canvas. Luca’s works also fill the walls of our Cable Factory office.

We organized the fourth Asylum techno party (2016) at Cable Factory in the boiler room basement.

Thaiboxer Kristoffer ”Krasti” Björkskog in the ring (2019), where he says he is closest to happiness and meaning of life. HCP has had the pleasure of supporting Krasti early on his promising career.

You can’t buy community

The benefit we get from cultural activities ourselves can be hard to put into numbers or words – and utility is not ourgoal. However, we have found # HCPSPIRIT to play a key role, at least in terms of employees’ freedom to express themselves, strengthening our brand identity and the stakeholder relationships we get to form.

We organized the operning party of Zodiak’s Side Step festival together with the House of Disappontments (2020). We managed to bring different people to encounter and create a communal atmosphere for the Cable Factory.

The creative environment of the Cable Factory has become a central part of our identity. Last summer we plotted with our neighbor Zodiak, Center for New Dance, and helped organise the opening event of Side Step Festival. Zodiak’s executive manager Ari Tenhula told us that the project was their first experience of business cooperation, which left the feeling of mutual value creation and the strengthened atmosphere of Cable Factory.

The collaboration made it possible to reach new audience groups – we want to bring people together and managed to attract a wider audience interested in vogue culture. Nor would we have been able to create such an extensive sideline program. HCP helped diversify the event and create a sense of communality that would not otherwise have been possible.

Ari Tenhula, Zodiak

Genuine encounters are paramount in building stakeholder relationships. We don’t carry corporate banners around or set up a tent where we will talk about our own asset management services. Traditional sponsorship is not for us, as we want to be more closely involved. It takes years of work in the cultural sector to gain a foothold. Work cannot be glued on or plainly a strategic initiative of the top management. You have to go on the terms of the scene.

Our cultural frame brings us closer to our customers. When we go on trips to greet athletes whose assets we manage, we are present, cheering for their careers. We also meet other athletes in this type of travels and we are visible in their world. We want to give more than just financial support. We want to cherish long-term and genuine relationships. We have noticed that what has formed around us is a wonderful and connected community.

The #HCPSPIRIT bus has toured Austrian Alps, Norwegian Fjords and the Copenhagen Skate Park, among others.

Surrounding community and work where you can make an impact increases the experience meaningfulness at work. In recent years, we have been awarded the Best for Workers recognition in which one of the criteria was the freedom to participate in #HCPSPIRIT projects. Our job satisfaction is top notch. The fact that we have not had much turnover in terms of permanent staff and several fixed-term workers and trainees have been left with us in some way witnesses that. At present, all of our permanent employees are also our shareholders.

Odd ones, stay together!

The value of art is immeasurable. Top sports unite us and make us all stars. Culture binds us as a nation and helps us experience meanings. The importance of environmental and ethical issues doesn’t even need to be emphasised. “Could us private sector actors help directly in building a better society?” we are thinking. We contribute through taxes, but hey, it’s pretty cool to choose exactly where the support is going to, and be involved in it yourself!

Our collaborations are often related to smaller and younger players, rising stars. We have found ourselves sort of unfit in the financial industry and it is often nice to connect with others who are walking their own path and are not afraid to do something different. #HCPSPIRIT collaborations also constantly alter the way we see the world. Also, our other actions that are perhaps atypical of the financial industry make us feel different – in a good way. We are not afraid to shake up the financial sector, that is our purpose.

We are also inspired by other private sector actors who have taken matters into their own hands. A strong value base is already a norm in business. However, we would certainly need more genuine action. We ourselves are constantly wondering what we can do to create the widest possible positive impact on the community and the world around us.

You can find more of our previous collaborations from #HCPSPIRIT pageWe can’t wait to see what we end up doing next!

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About the Author

Anette Tuomainen works as a Junior Communications Manager at Helsinki Capital Partners as Miika Koskinen, who is responsible for marketing communications and customer experience, is finishing his journalism studies. Anette became excited about HCP for its visionary investing, responsible values and identity attached to cultural actors. From her opinion, these make HCP stand out positively in the investment services industry.

Purpose and profit CAN go hand-in-hand – being a B Corporation

Being a B Corporation helps monitor responsibility

We have worked on our sustainability report of 2019 this spring under the lockdown. Reflecting our responsibility transformation throughout past years has made us think what drives us forward. Since we strive to be an Asset management to be proud of.™ we are happy about being a B Corporation as we are constantly searching for improvement. We want to do good, and with the impact assessment we go through being a B Corp has given us a great tool to take stock.

Think, Act, Measure.

As to date, we are the first and only Finnish B corporation in Finland.

B Corporation certificate is awarded to for-profit business that balance purpose and profit. B Corporations are required an impact assessment which measures their actions towards the surrounding community and world. Last year we have demonstrated that we can combine these two – create more profitable business, more return on investments for our clients and similarly increase our sustainability efforts.

Certificates can be a way of greenwashing. Performing at the bare minimum, while using them in marketing. In contrast, a good way to use B corporation certificate, in our opinion, is as an internal tool. We use it to track how much we have developed and what else is there still to be done. For value-driven companies it can be a way of pushing towards your purpose.

“B Impact Assessment gave us an opportunity to receive an outside perspective on what HCP does. This, in turn, has helped the company to discuss and promote more about our unique way of contributing to a better world.” our Investor Relations Manager Jo Iwasaki explains.

You can’t pour from an empty cup

In the year 2019 we reached our highest performance, attaining almost 100M€ in assets under management. We succeeded exceptionally in creating value for our clients through our funds. For instance, HCP Focus fund became the most consistently top-performing equity hedge fund globally, and in the spring of 2020 its success reached new highs, becoming the top performing stock fund in the world measured with 5-year return.

At the same time, we have been faithful to our commitment to sustainable organisation. A key factor that enables us to act smart is our teal organization structure. Responsibility is a companywide theme. It doesn’t tie only to management. Teal organization empowers everyone in the company to participate, also when discussing sustainability themes. For a team made up of people with different ideas and background, it is an advantage if everyone is able to put forward their visions into use. Different views of what is sustainability make way for more creative thinking and diverse actions.

We want employees to bring in their own passions. What would I like to use time, effort and money on? We use Nordic KPI to measure how much we are contributing to society. In addition to taxes and tax-related contributions, using a certain percentage of our revenue for supporting cultural causes in the form of #HCPSPIRIT projects equals a bigger amount when we are doing well economically. In the end, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

What we have especially focused on during past years is improving transparency and disclosure. This is due to the nature of financial industry – the grey area in asset management and dishonest usage of the client’s trust which we have actively spoken about. What we can do is to conduct our operations ethically towards clients and other stakeholders and be open about it, hopefully inspiring the industry towards improvement.

All of this proves that responsibility and economic performance can go hand-in-hand. There are yet many sustainability themes we want to incorporate.

Jo states that “HCP has come a long way from where it has started. We have always been keen to change the culture of the financial service industry, and #HCPSPIRIT – our collaboration with community around us and beyond – has been running for many years. For the business of our size, we are punching above our weight. But that’s a viewpoint of a business, not that of the public. What do people expect from businesses today? A lot, lot more. People want to see businesses taking stance, and use their influence to change the world for better. So we cannot stay and be comfortable being where we are. We need to think and act – it never stops to be a force for good.”

You can find more information about our responsibility effort from our website and CSR report of 2019 coming out soon.

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About the Author

Anette Tuomainen works as a Junior Communications Manager at Helsinki Capital Partners as Miika Koskinen, who is responsible for marketing communications and customer experience, is finishing his journalism studies. Anette became excited about HCP for its visionary investing, responsible values and identity attached to cultural actors. From her opinion, these make HCP stand out positively in the investment services industry.

HCP Quant 5/2020 -2,99% | Small-cap value stocks in recession turnarounds | Fund’s country allocation

HCP Quant’s value decreased -2.99% in May. Comparison index MSCI ACWI SMID Value Total Return increased +2.26% in euros. US S&P 500 Total Return increased +3.24% and  S&P Europe 350 Total Return +2.93%. From the beginning of the year HCP Quant has been performing better than its comparison index with -18.60% return compared to -22.35%.

The first quarter of the year has been difficult for small value stocks. Fama French U.S. Small Value Index which measures the development of small value stocks in the United States experienced historic events. The index fell -41.5% in one quarter. This is a record in its 94-year history. Similarly, the drop of the S&P 500 index was left to only -19,6%.

According to The Wall Street Journal’s article there are over 140 funds and ETFs in Morningstar database that are specialised in small value equities. The average loss of these in the first quarter was 37%. From the beginning of the year to the end of April it was -28% and until the end of May -25%. So, compared to US references of control HCP Quant has survived in the corona economic situation better than most.

The same article states that small value stocks can have good prerequisites for the post-COVID-19 recession rebound. One reason is that particularly small businesses experience larger effect on operating income when revenue increases. Small businesses are usually benefitting more from economic recovery.

Another reason is high-yield interest spreads narrowing down. Spreads getting smaller is a sign that investors are willing to take more risk. As history shows similar change has led to small value companies overperforming while larger companies underperform.

High yield interest investments’ spread from the year 1965. Source: Verdad Advisers

High yield interest spread and the following year’s return 1965-2019. Source: Verdad Advisers

The turnaround can be intense. As Verdad Advisers has analysed through 1965-2019, when high yield interest was over 8%, stocks of the cheapest decile and companies in smallest decile by size generated 48% in the following year, S&P 500 index returned 13%. In terms of the cheapest fifth and smallest fifth the return was 42%. In the end of May high yield interest spread had sunk down to 6,5%.

Free cash flow valuation differences and small value firms’ following year’s return 1951-2019. Source: Verdad Advisers

Measured by Free Cash Flow (FCF) the cheapest decile small companies yielded total return of 500% in years from 2000 to 2006. S&P 500 index yielded approximate 8%. The valuation difference between the most expensive and cheapest decile is to date 6 times the free cash flow yield, about as much as in 1999.

HCP Quant country allocation in 29.05.2020. Source: Bloomberg

HCP Quant continent allocation in 29.05.2020. Source: Bloomberg

Above are displayed country and continent allocations of HCP Quant. Any radical changes since the previous update haven’t come up. Emphasis of Australia-based companies has decreased and U.S. stocks can’t be found at all. The only remaining North American companies are from Canada. The big picture stays the same. The biggest emphasis is on Asia and Europe. This is understandable when valuation levels are more affordable than in United States for instance.

You can find the up-to-date valuation levels from HCP Quant’s page where I am updating the fund’s valuation monthly. It is easy to verify from the graphs in the page that the fund has been invested in value equities the entire time, according to its investment strategy.


June’s subscription date is approaching. Don’t let it slip by! As always, you can make an subscription online by clicking the button below. Please remember that the money has to be in the subscription account by June 30th at 4 pm at the latest.

Wishing you a warm summer,
Pasi Havia
HCP Quant portfolio manager

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Even the intelligent investor is likely to need considerable willpower to keep from following the crowd.

Benjamin Graham

(This text is a translation of the Finnish-language HCP Quant investor letter.)