11 November 2023

In this episode, William Green chats with Anthony Kingsley, who oversees more than $10 billion at an investment firm named Findlay Park. Anthony is the portfolio manager of the Findlay Park American Fund, which has crushed its benchmark index by 1,200 percentage points over 25 years. Here, he discusses his firm’s surprisingly simple path to exceptional returns.

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  • What Anthony Kingsley learned from his great mentor, James Findlay.
  • Why their firm, Findlay Park, lives by the mantra “Keep it simple.”
  • How the firm structures its fees to be simple & fair.
  • Why the key to long-term success is avoiding disaster.
  • How Anthony harnesses diversification to reduce stress.
  • How to incentivize a team of equity analysts.
  • How he avoids repeating common investment mistakes.
  • How he developed his 28-point investing checklist.
  • Why he focuses intensely on analyzing corporate culture.
  • Why it’s perilous to dismiss or ignore ESG.
  • Why he’s more excited about mid-caps than mega-caps.
  • Why he never invests in biotech or pharma.
  • What makes the US a wonderful market for investors.
  • Why he’s optimistic about the UK’s economic future.
  • How he balances work, family, & play.
  • What role luck has played in his success.


Disclaimer: The transcript that follows has been generated using artificial intelligence. We strive to be as accurate as possible, but minor errors and slightly off timestamps may be present due to platform differences.

[00:00:02] William Green: Hi there. I’m thrilled to introduce today’s guest, Anthony Kingsley. He’s the Chief Investment Officer at an English firm called Findlay Park, which focuses exclusively on investing in US stocks. Anthony oversees more than $10 billion in assets as the portfolio manager of the Findlay Park American Fund.

[00:00:21] William Green: Over the last 25 years, the fund has crushed its benchmark index, the Russell 1000, by a total of more than 1,200 percentage points. It’s a remarkable feat of outperformance, and so my goal in this episode of the podcast is to explore in depth how the firm has generated these stellar returns. What fascinates me is that Anthony and a brilliant predecessor of his named James Findlay have achieved this success in a surprisingly simple way.

[00:00:51] William Green: As you’ll hear, Findlay Park has one fund, one strategy, and one team based in one place. They invest in one country and one asset class, and they charge just one fee, which is non-negotiable. You pay the same fee whether you’re a big client or a small client, and in fact, Anthony pays the same fee too, which is both simple and fair.

[00:01:13] William Green: This very consistent emphasis on keeping things simple is a beautiful example of a theme I wrote about at some length in my book, Richer, Wiser, Happier, in a chapter titled, Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication. What I came to realize from my interviews with investing giants like Joel Greenblatt, Will Danoff, Jack Bogle, and Bill Miller is that it’s a tremendous advantage to have a few simple, robust, guiding principles that you can stick with through thick and thin so you don’t get knocked off course.

[00:01:47] William Green: We live in such a complex and confusing world that I think this ability to simplify is a kind of superpower, not only in investing but actually in other areas of life too. There’s one other reason why I particularly enjoyed this conversation. As you’ll hear, Anthony is not only a very successful investor but such a nice guy. He’s modest and decent and understated in a way that I really admire. In any case, I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did. Thanks so much for joining us.

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[00:02:21] Intro: You’re listening to the Richer, Wiser, Happier podcast, where your host, William Green interviews the world’s greatest investors and explores how to win in markets and life.

[00:02:41] William Green: Hi there, folks. I’m really delighted to welcome our guest today, Anthony Kingsley, who’s joining us from his office in London, the city where I grew up. Anthony is the Chief Investment Officer at a firm called Findlay Park, where he oversees more than $10 billion and he’s the portfolio manager of the Findlay Park American Fund, which has achieved the very rare feat of crushing the market over the last quarter of a century. It’s lovely to see you, Anthony. Thanks a lot for joining us.

[00:03:08] Anthony Kingsley: Great to be here.

[00:03:09] William Green: So one of the things that I wanted to talk about in some depth is just how the Findlay Park American Fund, which is the one fund in your company, how it’s racked up this extraordinary return of more than 12%a year over 25 years, which has beaten the Russell 1000, the index that you’re benchmarked against by an absolute mile.

[00:03:30] William Green: I think the Russell 1000 averaged about 7.2 percent a year. So, when I last checked, basically you’d beaten the index by a cumulative total of 1,200 percentage points. So it’s a remarkable success story, and I want to get a sense from you of what we can learn from your fund’s achievement about how to build wealth in a sustainable way.

[00:03:51] William Green: So I figure it probably makes sense to start at the beginning with the founding partners of the fund, James Findlay and Charlie Park, who launched the fund back in 1998. What can you tell us about them?

[00:04:03] Anthony Kingsley: Yes, I worked with James Findlay in the early 90s. That was my first job as a graduate trainee in a fund management company, foreign and colonial, and they specialized in investment trust.

[00:04:14] Anthony Kingsley: Frankly, I knew nothing about investing. but it was a great place to learn. I was put on the American desk as a graduate and James was making his way in US smaller companies. He had an investment trust and he had an open ended fund. And frankly, he was sort of the first mentor I probably ever had in life.

[00:04:34] Anthony Kingsley: I mean, he’s probably been the most important mentor that I’ve ever had. And he just taught me so much in those early years about investing, about managing downside risk, about trying to produce a good compound rate of return, the importance of compounding the eighth wonder of the world.

[00:04:52] Anthony Kingsley: And so, I knew James pretty well. I wasn’t one of the founders of Findlay Park, but I’d gone off to do something slightly different in fund management but we kept in touch. And he said four years into the business in 2002, he said, would you like to come and join?

[00:05:06] Anthony Kingsley: And I mentioned his importance as a mentor to me and I think I always thought, if I don’t join, if I don’t come, I might spend the rest of my life regretting that decision. And so I joined as a third partner and the fourth employee in the early 2000s and James and Charlie had both independently developed a really good track record of investing in US smaller companies and so, I joined the team and off I went.

[00:05:31] William Green: And my sense is that one of the formative experiences for James was that he’d been this hot shop manager at Foreign and Colonial and it had been kind of a great period for someone who specialized in U. S. small cap stocks, and then I guess the market famously crashed in 1987 when I think I’m right in saying that Black Monday, which I think was October 19th, 1987, was the biggest one day market drop in U.S. history. This is coming right after a torrid period where the market had gone up something like 44 percent earlier in the year and so my sense is that James was sort of this hotshot young fund manager when you first knew him, who then got absolutely clobbered and I’m wondering if you have a memory of how that experience changed the game for him.

[00:06:21] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah, so, I mean, he had a rough experience in the late 80s I’d say the 87 stock market crash, and I think sort of decided at that stage to read all the investment books he could and come up with a new philosophy, which was really more about managing downside risk and so that by the time I joined F&C in the early nineties, he was already well on his way to building a new track record in US smaller companies using this philosophy.

[00:06:46] Anthony Kingsley: But certainly that, that experience was a pretty seminal one for him. At that stage, he as a mentor to me, he told me to go and read all these books and whether it was William O’Neill or reminiscences of a stock operator or the Berkshire Hathaway, the biographies have been written on Buffett or Munger.

[00:07:05] Anthony Kingsley: And so I voraciously consumed these things and he put together a seven or eight page investment philosophy, which was really around. The learnings from the 87 stock market correction and how to apply a new philosophy, which I say at the heart of it was around managing downside risk.

[00:07:22] William Green: So, it seems to me there are several things that are really central to your approach that help to account for the success of Findlay Park over the last quarter of a century.

[00:07:32] William Green: And hopefully we’ll go through them in some detail in order. So as I see it. This issue of managing downside risk is critical. I’d love to talk about simplicity is really key. The use of an investment philosophy checklist and the folks on high quality businesses and like, so we can go through these and other things in various orders.

[00:07:53] William Green: But I think I’d like to start by talking about this idea of simplicity. Which was a major theme in my book because I feel like in a very complex world where we’re all so confused and there’s such a barrage of information and there are so many different approaches and possible lures and temptations to go astray.

[00:08:13] William Green: It’s an incredible competitive advantage actually to be able to distill things and have a few fairly simple guiding principles and a fairly simple approach. And one thing that’s distinctive about Findlay Park is that you have this philosophy, a guiding principle of keeping it simple. So I wondered if you could talk about Simplicity as it relates to Findlay how it manifests in really everything that you’re doing.

[00:08:39] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah, absolutely. So, keep it simple was an important philosophy of James and I think a really probably underestimated, mantra. Simplicity. If you look at Findlay Park today as a business, it’s quite unusual because after 25 years of investing in America and American companies.

[00:08:57] Anthony Kingsley: We just have one fund. We have one strategy, one investment philosophy. We have one team here based in London and we have, focused group of clients many of whom have been with us since the start, that’s quite unusual. Normally when fund management companies get a bit of success, I’ve certainly found is they say, well, what else can we do?

[00:09:17] Anthony Kingsley: What other strategies can we launch? And they diversify, they try and asset gather, they’re in the asset gathering business. Our focus from the beginning, our purpose has always been to generate really attractive compound rate of return for our clients. And so we’ve never really seen any need to launch lots of different funds and flavors and growth and value and long and short and small cap and large cap or whatever, different geographies or different approaches.

[00:09:46] Anthony Kingsley: It’s not to say that doesn’t work for other businesses, but ultimately what we’ve been very focused on from the start is trying to deliver this great compound rate of return. Through, a single fund and just keeping it simple, it helps focus the mind. I mean, we’re very aligned with our, we think with our clients, we’ve got one fund and we better do pretty well because we’ve got other funds to fall back on.

[00:10:08] Anthony Kingsley: If that one doesn’t do well, we’re all very aligned with our clients and, it helps focus the mind on what not to do often as much as what one should do.

[00:10:17] William Green: I think I’m also right in saying, you once told me that you just have one fee as well, like, that there are no fee breaks for anyone who comes along that even the partners in the fund, like yourself, pay the same fee. Why is that important?

[00:10:33] Anthony Kingsley: Well, I think keeping it simple just has a lot of advantages. And so, if you have different fee structures for different clients, you sort of forget what did you give that client and what did you give that client? And the next one comes along and you end up spending, hours and hours negotiating on fees and your head starts spinning.

[00:10:53] Anthony Kingsley: As I say we’ve never really focused on, asset gathering hasn’t been key to our business. We thought if we can deliver a really good rate of compound performance. Hopefully we can have a fee that’s competitive enough that people will feel that they’re getting value in terms of the return that we’re able to deliver.

[00:11:09] Anthony Kingsley: So yeah, we’ve just got one fund, no separate accounts, one fee structure. We all think, well, if our clients are paying that fee why shouldn’t we pay the same fee? And so when we quote in our newsletter or when our, in our reports. The performance of the fund, 12 percent compound for 25 years, that is a net of fees number, and the reason we can quote that, unlike maybe some other asset management firms is, we only have one fee, and whereas, they have to quote it gross because they got a lot of different fee structures for different clients, so it’s part of that, just keeping it simple and you can then focus on what you do best. In our case, we think, investing.

[00:11:45] William Green: There’s also a really nice alignment of interest there, I think, with the fact that you’re not the most favored nation, giving yourselves a much better deal than your clients.

[00:11:57] William Green: I think that’s a really nice thing and I was very struck. I think one of the first times we met and talked was when I came to your 25th anniversary celebration to be a speaker there. I remember, you introduced me to James Findlay there, who’s a surprisingly kind of quiet, modest, charming guy, very humble.

[00:12:16] William Green: And I remember you saying to me that one thing he had told you when you were taking over the firm if I’m quoting this correctly, he just said to you, treat the shareholders right, treat them fairly. Is that fair to say that was always kind of an emphasis?

[00:12:30] Anthony Kingsley: Oh, definitely. I mean, James taught me so much. We could be here for hours just discussing all the things that I’ve learned from him. And one thing I will say is. He’s a very sort of humble, low key guy, but in my opinion, and I’ve, I’ve come across many great investors, one of the greatest investors I’ve ever come across, who has a very low profile, but extraordinarily successful and a super guy, in terms of kind of morals, I’d say triple a character who taught me early on that the good news can wait, but if you’ve got bad news, you must share that with the client.

[00:13:02] Anthony Kingsley: You must always be honest and open with the client and share it. If you made a change in the portfolio or something’s not going right. I mean, it’s so much so that in the, in those newsletters in the early years, certainly he used to, almost sort of negatively market the fund in the newsletters, we’re not quite sure how well we’re going to do.

[00:13:18] Anthony Kingsley: And so if you want a bit of technology, you would probably go and find a technology fund or shouldn’t have all your money, American money in this fund and he was incredibly open and honest and I, that stuck with me. So, yeah, I know it’s been kind of a powerful force in my life, actually.

[00:13:35] William Green: Yeah, the newsletter that you’re referring to, which is unusual is this 15 to 20 page quarterly newsletter that the firm sends out, which is very rich and full of advice. So I think that’s another thing, actually, just the clarity of the communication, you know what you’re getting and it’s what it says on the tin.

[00:13:54] William Green: And so you were mentioning that he’s one of the most extraordinary investors you’ve met and I know that a lot of the people I wrote about in my book, whether it’s the Howard Mark’s or the Bill Miller’s or the Nick Sleep’s in case the car is when you look at James, who’s not well known, who’s kept a really low profile, although obviously he’s had huge success.

[00:14:13] William Green: What in terms of his temperament and personality stands out. What makes you actually look at him and think, oh, that’s what a great investor needs to be wired like those are the personality traits of a great investor.

[00:14:26] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah. So he’s very levelheaded to use a sort of Charlie Munger word.

[00:14:31] Anthony Kingsley: He’s very rational. He’s just got a very good temperament. When things are going really well, he’s not, strong on self-congratulation, but equally when things are going badly, often the truth is, it’s not, it’s. When the stock market is penalizing something, it’s not quite as bad as it may seem when you look at the share price.

[00:14:49] Anthony Kingsley: And so I think he’s got a good temperament. He’s rational. He focuses on the fundamentals and he’s a fundamental, bottom up stock picker. So I think those would be some of the things in terms of temperaments. that give him an advantage, perhaps, than versus, some others.

[00:15:06] Anthony Kingsley: I think another thing that’s been striking in terms of the simplicity of the firm over the years is that it was never that marketing oriented.

[00:15:14] Anthony Kingsley: I mean, I think you told me at one point that it had basically been soft closed for something like 20 years, that you had about 50 institutional clients in the UK and Europe. And that was about it. And so, people couldn’t invest directly, they had to go through a wealth manager. So there was also something about the quietness of what you were doing that you were just going about this very clear and focused task of trying to deliver compelling returns.

[00:15:43] Anthony Kingsley: over decades for clients. Is that fair to say that it wasn’t, I mean, there’s, there is something a bit like Nick and Zach at Nomad that it was all focused on the returns and not really on building scale, building your

[00:15:59] Anthony Kingsley: reputations and the like. Very much so. I mean, James and I know Nick and Zach well, and what they were doing in those early years.

[00:16:06] Anthony Kingsley: And we used to. Have some good conversations. And in many ways, it was similar. I mean, the, one of the reasons we were talking about the newsletter one of the reasons that, that James wrote that newsletter was he was the marketing department and it was a great way to, while James and Charlie invested in, in, in stocks to stay focused on investing in stocks, visiting companies, going to America, meeting management and just keeping up, the investors up today.

[00:16:32] Anthony Kingsley: And we always sort of said, in those days we said, we’ll send the newsletter out. But if investors want to see us, give us a call and we will come and see you. And many of our clients are here in the UK, just. Easy to access them but many of them were quite happy with the newsletter.

[00:16:44] Anthony Kingsley: So it was really a focus, as I said, to produce a really attractive compound rate of return by investing in a diversified portfolio in America. And, compounding is just, as I said, it’s like the eight, one eighth wonder of the world is as Charlie Munger says, never interrupt it unnecessarily.

[00:16:59] Anthony Kingsley: I mean, we’ve been going now for 25 years, we’ve compounded at 12 percent after fees. So that’s about 17 or 18 X. But really what we want to do is We want to keep that going. I mean, James is not here, James on the board, but he’s not running the fund. We’ve got a different team running the fund today.

[00:17:15] Anthony Kingsley: I’m involved at some stage, hopefully in the long time from now, there’ll be another team that’s running this, but we want to keep that compounding. And if you can keep that compounding record going, yeah, as you better than most know, you can produce extraordinary results over time. I mean, if we’re able to generate another 12 percent over the next 25 years, yeah.

[00:17:36] Anthony Kingsley: Then you have a 300x return approximately over, over two generations. And that’s sort of pretty extraordinary. So I think it’s always been this understanding of compounding. You’ve got to stay in the game. You cannot, of course we’ve had some good years.

[00:17:48] Anthony Kingsley: We’ve had some tough years, but We’ve never blown ourselves up. We were in, we stayed in the game on this compounding journey. And that’s really been the focus from the beginning for James, Charlie me is just produce a great return and hopefully we’ll have enough clients to run a successful business.

[00:18:06] William Green: So as you’ve said to me in the past, a huge amount of the success of the firm actually hinges on managing downside risk and just not doing anything too stupid so that you don’t interrupt that compounding, and I want to talk in some detail about how you do that, because it seems to me that’s one of the most It’s one of the most practical lessons that our listeners can learn because as Charlie would say, it’s really hard to be smart, but it’s pretty easy not to be stupid.

[00:18:33] William Green: And that seems to me such a huge part of success and investing and one thing that’s striking is that your fund, when I last checked, basically, In 31 down quarters for the market since Charlie and James founded the fund back in 1998 in 31 of those down quarters, the fund is outperformed in 29 of the 31 to kind of has a remarkable record of not only racking up good returns.

[00:19:01] William Green: But with less risk than the market, with less risk of total implosion or disaster or permanent loss of capital, however you want to define it. Can you explain how you go about this? How in very practical terms you go about avoiding disaster.

[00:19:20] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah, it’s absolutely key and as you pointed out, we’ve built the record by going down less than, the benchmark that we’ve been measured against in most of those quarters.

[00:19:32] Anthony Kingsley: And what we try and do is keep up. We try and keep up in a good market, go down less in a bad market and if you understand the power of compounding it. We’re trying to avoid permanent capital loss in any individual stock. Now you can’t always get that right, but we’re trying to, our starting point is how much can we lose if we’re wrong rather than how much can we make of it right?

[00:19:55] Anthony Kingsley: And I think that is probably contrary to a lot of investors. Investors look at some shiny object or stock and they go, this looks very exciting. And they look about, they think about how much they can make if they’re right. Our starting point is. Obviously, we want to make good returns and compound over time, but our selling point is, yeah, but if we’re wrong, how much are we going to lose?

[00:20:11] Anthony Kingsley: And, understanding that if you’re down a third in a stock, you’ve got to go up 50 percent just to get back to where you started. If you’re down 50%, you’ve got to double your money. And so if you can avoid that downside capture, You can produce a really good compound rate of return by, as you, to use your words, by being consistently not stupid, of being, there are so many opportunities to get carried away by, the latest fad or fashion or meme stock or IPO frenzy, or there’s the latest, AI thing or whatever is over 25 years has been no end to things that you could have got sucked into.

[00:20:48] Anthony Kingsley: So by having a. An investment philosophy, which you don’t just pay lip service to, but you stick to, you use rigorously when selecting your companies. You can build this track record over time and of course, over time companies grow and they have nice tailwinds and you’re, I think I was listening to a podcast that you did with Tom Gaynor some, was it some months ago?

[00:21:08] Anthony Kingsley: And he was talking about even the person that doesn’t do the luge, can still get down there. It’s not like you’re sort of lugging uphill. You’ve got some nice tailwinds. So being, to use a phrase, your phrase, by being consistently not stupid, avoiding downside risk, you can produce a really good compound rate of return over time, and that’s sort of what we did, what we’ve done, even while making lots of mistakes.

[00:21:28] William Green: In some way, it’s interesting also, there is an element of the Tom Gayner about your approach, where It’s relatively concentrated, but relatively diversified. There’s a kind of middle way, a sort of tension between the desire to concentrate so that you can outperform and the diversification that enables you to survive.

[00:21:48] William Green: And so I looked at one of your most recent documents and it seemed like you had about 42 percent of your assets under management in the top 15 stocks, which is relatively concentrated, but you own 59 stocks, which is relatively. Diversified and sort of makes it quite difficult in some ways to outperform compared to some of the more aggressive people I’ve written about who, like Nick and Zak, who would get to a point where basically have most of their money in 10 stocks. How do you think about that tension between survival and outperformance or diversification?

[00:22:23] Anthony Kingsley: It’s a wonderful question. I think it’s to some extent to do with temperament. It’s not to say that Nick and Zak or some other folks who have a 10 stock portfolio aren’t brilliant at it, but usually invariably the high low in a stock in any one year, even if the fundamentals haven’t changed that much, it’s quite wide and you get tested and if you’ve got what we have found, certainly for the Findlay Park and our temperament, if you’ve got too much In a position.

[00:22:52] Anthony Kingsley: It’s difficult sometimes to add to it. Investing is, you need to be in the right on the front foot in terms of psychology and if you’re just on the back foot a little bit and you’ve got a bit too much of something, you go, yeah, but I got a bit too much. So I can’t add to it.

[00:23:04] Anthony Kingsley: If you’ve got a diversified portfolio with some degree of concentration, top, top 10, 30 percent plus of the fund, as you mentioned top 15, low 40s, you’re making bets, but you can also just live with that volatility and let the compounding do the work. And so, take Texas Instruments we’ve owned for more than a decade.

[00:23:26] Anthony Kingsley: I mean, it’s a cyclical business in semi analog semiconductors. I mean, it’s a growth business over time, the electronic content of communication devices, of industrial products, of cars, of consumer products goes up and they sell more analog products and they gain a little share, but boy, do you have semiconductor cycles?

[00:23:43] Anthony Kingsley: And so, it’s been an amazing stock over 10 years, but it’s volatile and for us and the Findlay Park temperament and what we’re trying to deliver, we would just like to have, 60 stocks with, 2% to 3% percent positions, 3% plus positions and the things that we can live with.

[00:24:00] Anthony Kingsley: So we can live and let the compounding of those businesses do the work without. Without getting too stressed. We like to sleep at night and we want to deliver, we try and deliver a consistent, return for our clients over time. So, it’s not to say that the others don’t do it well with 10 stocks. So it’s just what’s worked for us.

[00:24:19] William Green: I think another thing that’s distinctive from the approach of a lot of the people I’ve written about who tend to be lone wolves making very independent decisions or maybe there are two of them sometimes in the case of Nick and Zak but often one to name in some of the cases like Mohnish Pabrai.

[00:24:30] William Green: Oh, maybe two with Howard Marks, and Bruce Kosch. I mean, usually smallish teams. You have a fairly large team. You have, I think, typically about 13, 14, 15 people in your investment team and you have this system of two people covering every stock. So that there’s built in debate. Can you talk about how that team approach also protects you against stupidity, against the likelihood of being blindsided by something that you just hadn’t thought about?

[00:25:06] Anthony Kingsley: Absolutely. I mean, we have this co coverage model, which is perhaps a little unusual. So when an idea is being researched or reviewed to the team or indeed just ongoing coverage, you’ve always got a couple of people who are sort of experts looking at that and they, that means that they can have.

[00:25:20] Anthony Kingsley: A healthy debate about it, and you don’t get, individual sort of confirmation bias, perhaps but ultimately every stock that goes into the portfolio is reviewed to the whole team. We review existing stocks, we’ll do re reviews, we’ll review new stocks, and that coverage team will bring them to the team.

[00:25:35] Anthony Kingsley: And ultimately, we’re just trying to get to the right answer. No, we got to, we, culture is important and we might probably talk about culture, but we’ve got an open, we’ve got a culture where we trust, where ideas we want to hear from other people. Ideas are encouraged.

[00:25:51] Anthony Kingsley: I certainly don’t have all the answers or ideas and I’m very open to listening to others. No one’s shouted at each other in 15 years, but equally, we do kick the tires pretty hard. We have a very open and honest conversation about what we think. I mean, ultimately, we’re just trying to get to the right answer.

[00:26:11] Anthony Kingsley: I mean, the ultimate decision lies with me in terms of the stock going into the fund. But very often I’m in agreement with the, with the team and the portfolio managers recommending it. And we have a very open debate.

[00:26:24] William Green: I thought it was interesting. I was looking through one of your documents last night, and it said the incentive schemes for your investment team members are based on three pillars and one of them obviously is quality of work. Another is performance and the third is collaboration. And I thought that was interesting that you can kind of talk about these grand ideas like, oh, I want you to be collaborative but actually, if you pay people based on whether they’re collaborative, it’s much more likely that you’ll actually get what you’re incentivizing for.

[00:26:56] Anthony Kingsley: Oh, it’s so true and to use another Charlie Munger-ism here. I mean, he always says, I’ve always thought the power of incentives were important and yet I consistently underestimated the power of incentives and in my lifetime. And show me the incentive and I’ll show you the outcome.

[00:27:11] Anthony Kingsley: And if you just incentivize people purely on performance, you’d get a bunch of fighter pilots doing their own thing. And if you incentivize people on performance and attitude or collaboration, or how are you helping the team? How are you involved in the debate? Are you giving feedback? Are you critically appraising? An idea are you suggesting? It helps reinforce that culture. And ultimately, I think, in our system, it leads to better decisions.

[00:27:40] William Green: Yeah, I think this understanding of incentives, once you actually get it, it transforms your view of so much in life. It’s sort of, it’s sort of everything, not everything, but enormous.

[00:27:52] William Green: And so, yeah, I thought that was a very pragmatic move in managing a business. It made me think, oh, it’s not just talk. It’s like, actually, it’s structured that way in terms of incentives. I wanted to also ask you about, in terms of avoiding catastrophe, a laminated piece of paper that you have that you mentioned to me once when we were on the phone that you said is titled avoiding investment mistakes.

[00:28:16] William Green: How helpful is that? I mean, what’s on it? What do you what do you do to remind yourself just not to be stupid by looking at that list of common investment mistakes?

[00:28:27] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah. So, we obviously we focus on this checklist of things that we’re trying to find, but over the years we’ve produced a laminate of, where we’ve consistently got things wrong and just to remind ourselves.

[00:28:41] Anthony Kingsley: And so those can be grouped under, the business financial management. process, valuation. I mean, I can go into sort of, it’s probably about, 30 or 40 points in total and they’re all sort of just reminders. I encourage everyone to just look at this laminated sheet that they have on their desk every now and then, again, just to avoid sort of stupidity.

[00:29:06] Anthony Kingsley: But a lot of it is just incredibly common sense, on management look for management that you can trust, look for CEOs who’ve got a track record in the industry. Be careful about management who are selling stock or giving aggressive guidance, be aggressive, be careful about management who are too smooth talking.

[00:29:24] Anthony Kingsley: Be careful about managements who are running the business with consistently levered balance sheets and rolling up acquisitions. Look at it, to your point about incentives, be careful of managements whose incentives are not aligned with those of shareholders.

[00:29:38] Anthony Kingsley: So those would be just, a handful just on the management side, and we can go, we could go into the business side or, the process side, but. It’s just lessons over time that we have learned that help us avoid permanent capital loss.

[00:29:51] William Green: And are there mistakes and behavioral glitches that you’re particularly prone to? Cause I remember talking to you about things like Markel once and you said to me, yeah, we stupidly sold Markel. They had some short term issue, like maybe there were a couple of bad acquisitions or there was some underwriting issues, but you were like, it was nuts. It was dumb. I should have held it. Like they’re things that you have to beware of because it’s part of your own wiring.

[00:30:19] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah. Well, thanks for reminding me about Markel again.

[00:30:23] William Green: My pleasure.

[00:30:24] Anthony Kingsley: But on valuation of this avoiding mistakes, one of the, one of the things there that we remind ourselves on is don’t sell too early when it’s a fantastic business.

[00:30:35] Anthony Kingsley: When you’ve got a good business that’s growing, that’s got a high returns on capital where there is a high degree of inevitability of outcome, just because the stock gets a little bit expensive. Sometimes those other things can justify a high valuation. And that is on our avoiding mistakes and I can tell you, our return would have been meaningfully higher than 12 percent compound if we paid more attention to that.

[00:31:00] Anthony Kingsley: We’re quite, what I’d say Findlay Park are quite good at, have been quite good at over time is, identifying good companies that meet the checklist. What we’ve not been so good at always is execution which means that sometimes we’ve just sold stocks. We’ve been quite pleased with ourselves.

[00:31:15] Anthony Kingsley: We made three times our money, but they’ve gone up, gone on to be 10 baggers or 15 baggers. And, you just think, my gosh, that was really dumb.

[00:31:24] William Green: So I think a really distinctive aspect of your process is that it’s built around this other laminated thing, which is your investment philosophy checklist.

[00:31:33] William Green: And if I’m right in thinking, you basically took what James Findlay had done early on in terms of writing down seven or eight pages of his beliefs about what works in markets. And you then turned it into an investment philosophy checklist. Can you talk about how you went about that process and how it benefits you and how it was influenced by Atul Gawande or whoever in figuring out the importance of having this type of very tangible, written down, written in stone philosophy checklist?

[00:32:09] Anthony Kingsley: So, I’ve been working with James for 20 years in, in sort of 2015 on and off but since the start of my career, as I mentioned, and then rejoined Findlay Park in 2002. And we’d always looked at this document on the website, which was James’s investment philosophy from, the 1987 experience.

[00:32:26] Anthony Kingsley: And it was pretty, pretty timeless document. But I think the thing when I became CIO, I mean, he handed over to me in sort of 2015, 16 and said, the kid’s grown up. Yeah, let the kid have a go. And so we were sort of joint CIO for a while and then he sort of handed it to me and I said, well, look, it’s great to have this investment philosophy, but why don’t, how do we know we’re implementing it?

[00:32:48] Anthony Kingsley: And I didn’t feel in all cases, all the time we were implementing it, and especially as you bring new people in. I’d read this Atul Gawande book, The Checklist Manifesto, I think at around that time, or maybe a few years before. And, the idea that a pilot has a checklist, And before they take off, they run through the checklist, even though they know what to do, they run through the checklist a surgeon in an operating room, has a checklist, even though they know what to do, you, you just, you run through a checklist and some managers tend not to have that, they sort of, they think they can keep everything in their head and they can remember everything in an eight page document.

[00:33:21] Anthony Kingsley: And I know that I’m just not smart enough to do that. So I said, well, I said to the team, why don’t we try and put this checklist into sorry, put this document into a checklist. And so it was really a team effort. We distilled it into 29 points and, seven or eight years on we’re still using it.

[00:33:38] Anthony Kingsley: We’ve tweaked it a little bit over the years and tweaked a few questions, but essentially it is the. It is the investment philosophy that’s been tried and tested since the early nineties. And it’s proved, it’s proved its worth, I think.

[00:33:51] William Green: It’s funny I once asked Charlie Munger, when I first spoke to him, I think, about his own use of a checklist, and he’s like, no, I can just keep it all in my head, and I was like, yeah, but I don’t think anyone else can do that, and I don’t think you can.

[00:34:02] Anthony Kingsley: Not many people are like Charlie Munger. I mean, I’m a person with very average intelligence. I simply can’t remember all of these things, and so you put them down a list. the questions themselves are, again, they’re very it’s common sense.

[00:34:17] Anthony Kingsley: More than half of them relate to the business. So a business quality and business competitive advantage. And ultimately, we’re trying to get to, what is that quality, we want to invest in quality businesses that have enduring competitive advantage so that we can feel confident about the inevitability of the outcome.

[00:34:35] Anthony Kingsley: And then a number of other questions are around, finance, financials, free cash flow and leverage and management incentives and confidence in management culture purpose. But the big chunk of them are related to business quality and competitive advantage. We’re trying to invest in high quality businesses that generate good returns where you can just hold them and let them compound.

[00:34:58] William Green: It was curious to me that one of the three big chunks of the checklist appears to be about management and asking questions like, do we like their corporate purpose and culture and are they good capital allocators? Can you talk about this issue of focusing on the culture and purpose of companies that you invest in, because it’s a bit of a nebulous, vague thing, and yet it turns out to be hugely important, whether it’s a company like Berkshire or Costco, both of which I think you own, or Amazon, and I think at one point, didn’t you decide to give yourself a double score on the checklist for questions related to culture, so it’s inordinately important to you?

[00:35:41] Anthony Kingsley: That’s right. I think when you look back and you look at certain companies and why they’ve been successful, it’s not always the case but often culture is something that’s been underestimated. And so, companies that obviously look after shareholders are important and we’re trying to make a, a profit here and a shareholder But I believe that companies that look after their employees, that have good glass door scores, and where you’ve got satisfied employees, companies that look after their customers and have a strong customer value proposition, are well placed to succeed.

[00:36:19] Anthony Kingsley: So, yeah, culture and purpose. I mean, one of the things that we look at is, we don’t like businesses where they have a product that customers have to have, but customers hate the company, they’ve got pricing power, but because the customers have got no choice and nowhere else to go.

[00:36:36] Anthony Kingsley: Ultimately, we don’t think that leads to a very inevitable outcome. Whereas if you’re like a Costco and you are permanently delighting customers, you look after employees, you pay them well, you can, you put all these things together. You can deliver super normal returns over time by considering all the stakeholders and building a good culture.

[00:36:56] Anthony Kingsley: I think we tried to do that at Findlay Park. I think it’s, I think one of the reasons for the success of Findlay Park is frankly, a very focused purpose to generate great returns for our clients. And a culture of, creating environment for employees to do their best work, to have fun, and to deliver for, to deliver for our stakeholders.

[00:37:18] Anthony Kingsley: So I think culture and purpose, I believe we’ve probably underestimated in the past and that’s why we’ve sort of double scored it. A few questions we double score like culture. Like, pricing power and returns without leverage a few things that we think are kind of super factors.

[00:37:35] William Green: So when you were trying to figure out the culture of a company, you’re obviously doing a lot of due diligence and talking to divisional leaders and former employees and the like and competitors. Are you looking for inconsistencies in what they’re saying to see whether someone is saying yeah, no, it’s a lovely place to work and then you talk to people and you’re like, God, I just wish my boss weren’t such an ass.

[00:37:59] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah, I mean, it’s, you build up a picture over time. You don’t you cover a company and you. You meet management, you meet different levels of management, obviously Glassdoor and, in her site, there’s other ways of getting data these days on, employee feedback and satisfactions where some of the issues are.

[00:38:16] Anthony Kingsley: And if you’re the, if you’re in the top, I mean, there is a correlation, in my opinion, between satisfies employees and shareholder returns. And if you’re the 500th company in the S& P 500 on the Glassdoor scores, you’re probably you’re going to be challenged to deliver really great returns.

[00:38:32] Anthony Kingsley: So there’s some outside data we can use. We can interview managements. We can also use, expert networks to access, employees, former employees, competitors to get a sense of that. And we’re very focused on the leadership, anytime the leadership changes.

[00:38:47] Anthony Kingsley: How does that, how might that impact, impact the culture? So we built up a picture over time. We produced a list of sort of half a dozen questions that help us probe on culture. What is the culture? How does it, how has it manifested throughout the organization? How has it changed over time? Why has it changed over time?

[00:39:02] Anthony Kingsley: So there’s a series of questions. Also, we’ve developed it so just help us sort of get to the bottom of it. You never really get a full picture, but you can build up a picture over time and we’ve certainly given it a good go.

[00:39:14] William Green: I was also really struck by the extent to which your documents really deal extensively with ESG, and obviously there’s been a, an ESG backlash here in the US recently, and lots of polarization about the issue, and I guess I have some sympathy towards the view that there is a danger of greenwashing and that Wall Street is pretty good at selling anything, and If they can sell stuff by saying that it meets their ESG criteria, they’ll do it.

[00:39:42] William Green: So I do think it’s appropriate to be somewhat cynical about it. But I also think these issues of environment and social good and governance are hugely important. And I think there’s a sort of real danger of using that backlash and the allegations of hypocrisy to kind of dismiss this thing that’s actually really important.

[00:40:03] William Green: And so I was interested to see the extent to which ESG runs through your checklist and I think you have also a responsible investment gauge that you use that has something like 19 different factors related to climate and environment and human capital and business ethics and reputation and cyber security and data privacy and all of these things Can you talk about this whole issue of ESG actually being a really important aspect of finding businesses that are sustainable and achieving long term success? So it’s actually, it’s a practical and pragmatic thing and not just something that we should be debating politically.

[00:40:44] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah. No. Thanks, William. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this because, I think we, the pendulum swung a long way in one direction and now it seems to be swinging a long way in the other direction.

[00:40:55] Anthony Kingsley: I think we take rather a more pragmatic approach. I mean, what is ESG? It could be ESG. It could be SGE. It could be GSE. I don’t know what, whoever chose the order of ESG and the E seems to be getting a lot of attention at the moment. But the truth is that we believe that responsible responsibly managed companies, are best placed to produce great compound rate of return, compound returns for our clients.

[00:41:20] Anthony Kingsley: And so we do pay close attention to those factors. I mean, governance, good governance is an important factor when we look at, when we look at companies, do, does it have a sensible board? Are management incentives, we talked about incentives aligned with those of shareholders?

[00:41:37] Anthony Kingsley: Do they make sense? Would we back management to run this company well and successfully? And so the G is, is that’s absolutely integrated into our philosophy checklist. Equally, the S is integrated into our philosophy checklist. We want to have companies that are delivering good customer value propositions.

[00:41:56] Anthony Kingsley: And I mentioned the Glassdoor schools. We want to have companies that ultimately are treating employees well, looking after employees and creating an environment where they can do their best work and thrive. They can retain and attract the best people so that they can be successful. So, thinking about, we’ve always thought about other stakeholders, that when you think about customers and employees, you get better results for shareholders.

[00:42:17] Anthony Kingsley: We talked about Costco and there are many other examples. So that is integrated into our process. On the E side of things, we’ve got many companies that. We think are providing products and services that are helping to create a more sustainable world. For example some of our building insulation companies, we own Top Build, we own a nice holding in that.

[00:42:38] Anthony Kingsley: It’s one of our bigger holdings. And they, the dominant company in providing, insulation to residential and commercial houses. Well, residential houses and commercial properties. And, Of course, insulation actually is one of the best ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint. And so, now it doesn’t mean that actually Top Build is not a high scoring company on our philosophy checklist.

[00:43:00] Anthony Kingsley: The starting point is it a good business? Does it fit? But it can also create opportunity. And so for me, I see ESG as a tool that is integrated into our investment process that helps us manage both opportunity and risk manage risk, downside risk and find opportunity. And we take a really pragmatic approach here, and hopefully we’ve never greenwashed here on this front. We tend not to have slides in our pack around ESG, but we just sort of get on and do it like, like we’ve always been doing it. We do have this responsible investment gauge where we look at other factors and pull in other information and data. Again, help us manage opportunity and risk.

[00:43:39] William Green: Yeah, I was struck by that pragmatism, where on the one hand, you do still own some fossil fuel companies like EOG Resources, which I think is a low carbon producer of oil and gas, and Conoco as well, but these are companies that, as you’ve pointed out in the past, are going to play an important role in the energy transition, but at the same time, you also have a question, I think you added in 2021 to your checklist where you say, Is the company a net beneficiary of climate economics?

[00:44:10] William Green: So it’s very pragmatic. It’s saying there is a trend here in terms of the environment, and we want to align ourselves with that trend. And we want we want to make sure that we’re not blindsided by it but also not the ideological, I guess.

[00:44:25] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah, I think that’s right. I mean, we’ve always tried to be pragmatic. I mean, I clearly, I think it is a, an important trend, which in my view although the tide may be shifting a little bit in terms of the rhetoric and the management companies saying I’m aligned with it, or I’m not aligned with it. If you look at businesses, if you look at what businesses are doing, there is a clear, there’s clear momentum to reduce their environmental footprint and become more sustainable. I think it is a, it is an enduring trend. And so we have got a question there. 1 question, 1 point on our 29 questions. So, but at the same time, we fully recognize that there needs to be an energy transition and the. world would simply stop functioning today if we didn’t have fossil fuels.

[00:45:11] Anthony Kingsley: And so how do we get, how do we get from A to B in a responsible way through, responsibly managed businesses? And so, we’ve never operated a sort of divestment strategy here of saying, well, we only want to be in ESG. companies. We’ve taken a much more pragmatic approach. And in fact, on our rig, our responsible investment gauge company like EOG actually scores quite well relative to all the sort of factors that we look at.

[00:45:41] Anthony Kingsley: By contrast, some of the social media companies, which get quite high ratings from third party vendors don’t score so well. And so. Everyone has their own different ways of measuring these things, but ultimately, yeah, we are pragmatic.

[00:45:55] William Green: So things like Meta and X, formerly known as Twitter, in the same way Glyph, formerly known as Prince, is now X, they don’t score very well. These social media companies, would they be ones that don’t score great?

[00:46:08] Anthony Kingsley: They don’t. And we’ve tended to avoid those companies at Findlay Park. I mean, for various reasons, they don’t score that highly on our investment philosophy checklist either. So, we’re Findlay Park right now.

[00:46:21] Anthony Kingsley: We’re pretty underweight, the mega cap companies. We probably got about as low a weight, although we’re and all cap American fund, we probably got about as low a weight as we’ve ever been. we’ve ever had in those mega cap companies and notwithstanding that, the fund still continues to perform, quite well. Cause also it’s not about what sometimes it’s also just about what you own and not sort of what the index is doing. As long as you’ve got other companies that are performing well, you can still produce a good compound rate of return.

[00:46:46] William Green: Yeah, my sense, maybe this has changed, but my sense, at least a few weeks ago was that you own Microsoft, Nvidia, and Alphabet, all of which you’d owned for quite a while.

[00:46:57] William Green: So I guess three of those eight mega cap companies that have market caps of a hundred billion or more, but the others like meta, Netflix, Tesla, Amazon, apple, not so much. Is that fair to say that you’re avoiding this?

[00:47:13] Anthony Kingsley: That’s right. We have three our last filing we had three, three companies which made up, I call it approximately 10% of the fund.

[00:47:20] Anthony Kingsley: And if you look at those mega cap company. which have been driving the market this year and for a number of years, I think the last decade, eight companies represented 60 percent of the performance of the S&P, those represent 25 to 30 percent of the index and we’re around 10. So we have a much broader diversified portfolio than the index, which looks a little bit narrow today.

[00:47:42] William Green: And it seems like you’ve been very consciously shifting back towards an emphasis on mid-caps in in, in its original iteration, the fund was very much a small cap fund, and then a little bit mid-caps, and then gradually became an all cap fund.

[00:47:58] William Green: And now it seems that it’s shifting back towards a pretty heavy emphasis on mid-caps. Is that partly a reflection of the fact that, as you call them, the mega cap eight have gone kind of crazy over the last 10, 12 years and that the valuations are just not that attractive. What’s first what’s the problem with the mega caps and what’s the comparative attraction of the mid-caps?

[00:48:23] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah. So, the challenge with the mega caps is that in the last decade or so, they pretty much had their sort of rails to themselves, whether it was Google in search or. Microsoft in cloud sorry, Amazon in cloud or Microsoft in office productivity and so on.

[00:48:40] Anthony Kingsley: If you look today, there’s just a lot more competition. There’s going to be more, there’s more overlap, Google and Amazon and Microsoft are all competing in, in cloud. It’s just, it’s a more. Competitive area, social media Facebook has got, more challenges there. TikTok and there’s just more competition between those companies. You’re, they’re not going to be allowed to acquire companies in the way they have in the past. They’ve compounded revenues at sort of 25 percent roughly for the last decade or so, which is pretty extraordinary.

[00:49:11] Anthony Kingsley: But, if the valuations moved up, if they’re going to do that again over the next decade, probably become a third of GDP. So, I think it’s just a sort of mathematical challenge. This is one and a half trillion of collective revenue and just being scrutinized far greater extent from a regulatory perspective and from a competitive perspective.

[00:49:31] Anthony Kingsley: So, that’s sort of one angle. The second angle is. We’re actually really excited about mid-caps as these large cap companies have dominated. We feel that the opportunity in mid-caps on valuations, we’re sort of going back to where we were in the sort of late nineties, when we were much more focused on small cap companies.

[00:49:50] Anthony Kingsley: And I wouldn’t say they’d been ignored, but they’ve not performed. And so they’ve had a less attention on them. We are finding probably about 75 percent of the ideas that come into the fund over the last 18 months have been in this sort of 3 to 50 billion market cap range. And so today, probably two thirds of the fund is under a hundred billion, whereas two thirds of the S&P is over a hundred billion and it’s, we’re evolving in that direction that there is another factor here, which really is around de globalization and the advantage that maybe more domestic oriented companies are going to have as we move to a more de globalized world.

[00:50:26] Anthony Kingsley: I mean, that’s another conversation entirely. I’m happy to get into that, but we’ve got a more of a domestic focus, companies that are going to benefit from U. S. reshoring, nearshoring, and we’re really excited about that opportunity.

[00:50:41] William Green: Yeah, so these are companies that a lot of our listeners won’t have heard about because they’re, maybe they’re industrial companies or infrastructure services companies with a more domestic US buyer, so I was looking at your portfolio and there are things like Ferguson in heating and plumbing, these companies that, Not all of us have heard of, but then I was also struck that you were playing the AI boom in an interesting way that all, although you own NVIDIA and Microsoft, which are both pretty big positions and Alphabet, there’s also a big emphasis on what you’ve called the picks and shovels providers of products and services that are going to benefit from IT spending on things like AI.

[00:51:23] William Green: Can you talk about things like Accenture or Gartner, these things that are maybe not as huge. They’re not these mega cap companies, but they’re very well positioned to take advantage perhaps of this AI boom. And they’re not quite as pricey, perhaps, I think as some of these mega cap stocks.

[00:51:44] Anthony Kingsley: I mean, maybe just stepping back a bit, we probably have 40 percent of the portfolio in what I would call sort of these picks and shovels type companies, which most people find a bit boring and not growthy enough, but we absolutely love. So, whether it’s and what I mean by that is often they are providing, essential products and services that are a high value.

[00:52:09] Anthony Kingsley: To the end to the customer, but a very low percentage of their total costs. So if you take if you take Sherwin Williams, for example, in paint, actually paint as a percentage of the paint job is not a lot. But it’s having good quality paint is important Martin Marietta in aggregate, the aggregates that go into a new industrial gas facility or biotech plant, it’s a pretty small percentage of the cost, but, it’s sort of an oligopoly and you’ve got to have the product and you’ve got a bit of pricing power and you just need, you need to have it when you need to have it, if you look at Texas instruments or analog devices in analog semiconductors, I mean, they sell products for 50 cents for a dollar.

[00:52:50] Anthony Kingsley: But the content is maybe a few hundred dollars that goes into a car, but they’re critical products, but they’re not, they’re, you’re not betting on, you’re not betting on Tesla or BMW or GM or some Chinese EV company being the winner. You buy the picks and shovels company like Texas Instruments.

[00:53:10] Anthony Kingsley: And they provide analog semiconductors to all car manufacturers all over the world. And, whether it’s the Chinese or the Indian or the Tesla’s, or, the German companies, you don’t actually have to be that smart and make a bet on who the winner is, because if they need the product, they’ll go to Texas Instruments.

[00:53:27] Anthony Kingsley: And we know the auto content in cars grows over time. So these are, I mean, by high value, low cost, but critical products. And it’s the same in IT services. These are sort of picks and shovels providers, whether it’s, in IT services, whether it’s Accenture and Consulting or whether it’s in whether it’s Gartner in providing, technology advice, or whether it’s CDW in IT services.

[00:53:52] Anthony Kingsley: We just love these companies. Thermos Fisher, Danaher in healthcare, we’ve actually never invested at Findlay Park in a pharmaceutical or biotech company in our history. And you may say, well, Anthony, why not? The problem is we’re not smart enough to know which products are going to get approved.

[00:54:09] Anthony Kingsley: And what is the life cycle of that product? And when it comes off patent, do they have a product to replace it? If you’re Thermos Fisher or Danaher and you’re providing You know, the life science tools and consumables to scientists and you’re serving all the pharma companies, all the biotech companies, all the generic companies, all the Indian and Chinese companies.

[00:54:28] Anthony Kingsley: As long as you believe in science advancing, you’re going to, you’re going to generate more revenue every year, most years, and you can grow margins a bit and you can generate free cash flow and reallocate that into more acquisitions or dividends or buybacks. And so these are, sorry, it’s a slightly long winded answer, but these are the types of businesses that help us manage downside risk.

[00:54:52] Anthony Kingsley: And to most people, they might be quite dull, but you’re not going to lose a lot of money in them if you’re wrong.

[00:54:57] Anthony Kingsley: And I think I read somewhere in one of your reports that the valuations for these slightly less exotic kind of mid cap companies are basically 25 year lows compared to the valuations of the mega caps.

[00:55:12] Anthony Kingsley: Is that right that there’s a really big disparity that reminds us of, say, 1998,

[00:55:19] Anthony Kingsley: 1999? Yeah, we have a chart in our slide deck, which shows the relative evaluation of mid-caps. You could plot this against small caps as well relative to the S& P 500. And which is obviously, a larger cap biased index, and it is trading close to where it was in.

[00:55:36] Anthony Kingsley: In sort of late 1998, early, early 1999. So, and one of the things that we did is we’re always trying to produce a good, absolute compound rate of return for clients. And, small cap, mid-caps got really rather picked over, a lot of the big fund houses, the well-known ones that you’ll know, close their doors.

[00:55:53] Anthony Kingsley: In the 2000s to small and mid-cap money and they had too much money and they would be in a great area and out of favor, sorry, in favor and S& P 500 companies were well out of favor and we, that was the point at which we pivoted and we said, well, actually, we need to look at all cap companies because you can buy Microsoft on 12 times earnings and you can buy, Walgreens on 11 times earnings, et cetera.

[00:56:16] Anthony Kingsley: And we can buy these high quality companies. that have underperformed for a while. So we evolved. And now I think Findlay part 3. 0 25 years on, I’m calling it sort of back to the future. We’re going back a little bit to our roots today. We look more like we did in those early days with sort of mid cap companies, three to 50 billion market cap companies being, 40 plus percent of what we do less than a hundred billion, 60 percent plus of what we do.

[00:56:40] Anthony Kingsley: And it’s really exciting. And we sort of stayed in the game in a way in the last decade. We hung in there in a period where you had zero interest rates, free money, not the best environment in a way for Findlay Park, managing downside risk, low leverage. But now we’re back at five and a half percent interest rates.

[00:56:57] Anthony Kingsley: There’s a real cost of money. We’re in a new era. It’s really exciting. And I think going back to our roots a bit with these slightly uncovered, unloved companies is going to be fantastic.

[00:57:10] William Green: It’s also interesting that probably one of the most important decisions you guys made from the very start determined the success of Findlay Park was that you made the choice to focus on one country, that you picked America very early on, thanks to the good fortune of James and Charlie being experts on U.S. stocks. You have an unusual perspective on the U. S. because you live in the U. K., you spent five years early on in your career as a European stock analyst, I think, but you spent over 20 years analyzing U. S. stocks, so, so you’re detached. an objective about the US, but at the same time, very knowledgeable and very immersed in it. And I feel like people routinely underestimate the dynamism of the US and they look at all these problems and they always say, oh, America’s finished and look at this country that’s going to take over. And then whether it’s Japan decades ago, or then China in more recent years, these countries that everyone says, oh, this is going to take over. And the U S is finished. The predictions of the U S is demise always seem to be somewhat premature. And I wondered if you could talk about why the U. S. simply is a very attractive place to invest, not just now, but as just one of, it’s just such a sweet spot to be an investor.

[00:58:37] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah, it’s so true. I mean, I spend the first part of my career, I say, working with James Findlay on the American desk. And I thought that’s a great place to learn.

[00:58:45] Anthony Kingsley: But actually, ultimately, I live in the UK and, I should probably cover UK and European companies. So I decided to make that switch. And after five years, went back to working with James again. And one of the lessons was, it’s just simply not the depth. Of companies of quality companies that you have in the U. S. and where you do have a quality company, there’s 35, 35 sell side analysts and they’re picked over and they’re probably actually quite highly rated because there’s so few choices of high quality businesses. They’re trading on quite high multiples and. America has just got hundreds, thousands of companies that can’t possibly be, fully analyzed by everyone and just extraordinary companies and businesses.

[00:59:26] Anthony Kingsley: I mean, thinking about the American advantages, obviously, you’ve got a capital market. That’s very liquid that works. You’ve got 300 million. Is it consumers against which to sort of leverage your business model? You’ve got a culture of business friendly regulation, you’ve got rule of law, entrepreneurial spirits, and frankly, just a history of America creating new companies.

[00:59:49] Anthony Kingsley: I mean, just look at the S&P today. And when we talk about, look at those top holdings, I mean, Nvidia today, everyone’s talking about Nvidia at the moment, trillion market cap. I mean, where was Nvidia 25 years ago? Probably wasn’t even invented. America has the ability to just innovate, bring these companies, whether it’s Tesla or Netflix or Microsoft or Apple at some stage and you look at Europe, look at the UK, where are the new companies in the UK?

[01:00:13] Anthony Kingsley: Maybe we had Arm for a while. That’s been sold. Actually, I think it’s going to be relisted in the United States. So there just isn’t, you look at the UK, you’ve got, some banks and some oil companies and some telecom companies. America is just such a dynamic environment, and I think you’re right, it’s consistently underestimated.

[01:00:30] Anthony Kingsley: When you read the UK press around America, it’s always been negative. I mean, I’m naturally a slightly optimistic person, and I’m always quite optimistic about America and its dynamism and, the R&D that drives, unparalleled levels of innovation and extraordinary companies and wealth.

[01:00:48] William Green: Also an incredible work ethic. I was saying to my wife yesterday, I think I finished work at about 11 something last night and she finished work at like 10:30. It’s like, where else in the world are people just sort of routinely working that ridiculously hard at the end of summer when I don’t know, and I sort of feel I’m not saying that to be self-congratulatory, I just look around and I see the people I know working really hard here, and I’ve worked in England, I’ve worked in Hong Kong I think they had a tremendous work ethic.

[01:01:15] William Green: But it just seems like there’s a kind of a dynamism and an intensity and a productivity here and also this tremendous flow of capital to good ideas.

[01:01:27] Anthony Kingsley: I think you put it extremely well. It’s the American dream. Even actually U.S. college is interesting. My son has just started at a U.S. college my eldest son, and we just dropped him off there. I mean, most people in the UK start equivalent of U. S. college, U. K. University here at the end of September, beginning of October. Yeah. He started on August the 15th, I did tell him you’re not going to get nearly as much holiday studying in America.

[01:01:53] Anthony Kingsley: I said, yeah, dad, I know, but he’s committed to that, but whether it’s, studying, whether its people have two week holidays, I think in America and here, they, so they expect five weeks. four or five weeks. So yeah, it’s, we’ve got a lot of national holidays. I think it’s, I think it’s a cultural thing.

[01:02:08] William Green: Do you feel just looking at the UK that it’s lost the plot a little bit? I mean, with Brexit and the like, and with the disasters of all your old Etonian. prime ministers who went to school with me, like, David Cameron and Boris Johnson. Like, is there a sense that the UK has lost its mojo and is just not such a dynamic and important force economically?

[01:02:31] William Green: Or does it feel like the prognosis for the country is still pretty good in terms of business and investing and the like?

[01:02:40] Anthony Kingsley: I think we’re in a tough spot, but I am hugely optimistic about, this country where I live and work and the opportunities still in this country to succeed and I think that the UK are still significant as much as it’s easy to kind of moan and say Brexit this or the current leadership I’m still very optimistic about, the UK’s ability to sort of pull through this.

[01:03:09] Anthony Kingsley: I think there are a lot of parallels between the UK and the US. I think we’ve got to get the policy right. I think that’s key, but I think we still got a lot of advantages here.

[01:03:18] William Green: I was slightly surprised when I was looking for the other day at the return since late 1997 of the FTSE 100 British index versus the US market.

[01:03:31] William Green: And so this is a long period of time since 97, so what, 26 years, something like that. And the FTSE has averaged 3. 7 percent a year. Whereas the S& P, which hasn’t been stunning, but has been okay, has been 8. 3%. And so. I mean, just a very long period of pretty dismal returns. Like, what, why is that? Like why has the UK, the country that I came from, and that I sort of left initially when I was about 21, 22 to move to New York why has it, been so lackluster for the last quarter century?

[01:04:06] Anthony Kingsley: Well, I think part of the explanation is what we were just talking about. America’s ability to renew, reimagine, create new businesses. If you take those mega cap companies if you take some of those new companies out of the index and you just were to measure G and Exxon and some banks, you probably wouldn’t have a dissimilar result.

[01:04:23] Anthony Kingsley: So I think it’s America’s ability to create companies, Leverage that over, a large consumer base and then, leverage those internationally. I think the UK is at a somewhat of a disadvantage there in terms of, the size and scale. You do get a lot of innovation and great companies, but they do get taken out.

[01:04:42] Anthony Kingsley: They get. They get, they disappear at 5 billion, 10 billion, 20 billion, or they relist in America. Ferguson’s a great example. I mean, they’re imagined their business to just a US business and they relisted in the United States, actually being a very successful company. So I think that’s it really.

[01:04:58] Anthony Kingsley: It’s America’s ability to create new dynamic businesses. The UK, sort of, you look at the index, is still composed of much the same sort of companies as 10, 20 years ago.

[01:05:09] William Green: You mentioned briefly your son going off to American University. I think you just have the one child, if I remember rightly.

[01:05:15] William Green: And when we when we first scheduled a conversation a few months ago, just informally you wrote to me at the last minute and you were like, My son is about to play his last soccer game at Harrow, and I want to go watch him play, can we reschedule for later in the day, which I loved as the parent of two children, although I never made it to very many of their games, and it just raises this question of how you’ve managed to balance this pretty intense job of leading a team of 13, 14, 15 investors managing 10 and a half billion dollars, managing this very successful fund.

[01:05:53] William Green: And at the same time trying to have a family and some kind of life and some sort of hobbies. What have you figured out about how to manage your time and perform at a high level while also not burning out?

[01:06:09] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah, no, it’s a great question. My son would say that dad I may have gone to that match but dad, do you know how many other dads, moms and dads are these matches?

[01:06:20] Anthony Kingsley: And you turned out to X many. So I’m afraid I get the, I do feel rather guilty that I, I’ve done my best. You just try and do your best. I mean, I think one of the secrets for me is I don’t sleep very much. And I since my twenties, I can get by on limited amounts of sleep.

[01:06:35] Anthony Kingsley: And so somehow, I can manage balance My work, my work, my sort of family time, and then the other things that I want to do for myself, whether it’s exercise or sport or, hobbies I think I’ve balanced that sort of reasonably well, but it’s, it’s a challenge.

[01:06:51] William Green: How little do you sleep?

[01:06:53] Anthony Kingsley: Well, I probably sleep about four or five hours a night. In fact, I woke up this morning, and I had a very busy day today, and I had a big busy day yesterday, and I, and I woke up at, my wife wakes up at about 7, and she woke up at 7 o’clock, and I was still in bed, and she looks at me and she went, what’s wrong?

[01:07:14] Anthony Kingsley: What’s wrong? Are you okay? It just reminded me that, in fact, when she wakes up, I’m never in bed. Because I get up at like 530 or whatever I do my, I’m just, my, my brain is buzzing. I’m doing some exercise or I’m starting the day and I do that seven days a week. So I feel like I should have got a good balance between, work, family and play, but it’s always a challenge.

[01:07:38] Anthony Kingsley: It’s interesting because I’ve written a bit about like health and the like, and so I got to interview all of these people like Matthew Walker who wrote this this book, Why We Sleep. And so it’s really become like almost this religious orthodoxy that you have to sleep. class hours, maybe eight hours and that we just needed.

[01:07:57] Anthony Kingsley: And that you’re basically like driving drunk. If you’re sleeping less and that it causes all of these catastrophic effects on your health. And I’ve thought about a lot of that. I don’t know. I think I only sleep about six and a half hours on the whole idea and earlier in my career I think we’d all kind of glorified the idea of sleeping less.

[01:08:19] Anthony Kingsley: I remember hearing that, people like Margaret Thatcher slept four hours. I remember an old boss of mine at Time Inc, who was in charge of like 150 magazines, was set to sleep four hours. And this was a sort of macho thing. And I remember Matthew Walker saying to me, yeah, but people like Reagan and Thatcher who slept very little ended up with Alzheimer’s.

[01:08:38] Anthony Kingsley: And so it’s like, it’s a really interesting thing. I don’t know whether to what extent we’re being kind of brainwashed into thinking this stuff is really bad for our health, and to what extent it’s really true, but again, it feels like the pendulum has totally swung to the other side, and there’s a sense Well, I mean, I’ve read Matthew Walker, and I’ve read that Is it why we sleep?

[01:09:00] Anthony Kingsley: I read it a few years ago and I thought it made a lot of sense. And it was a brilliant book. And I tried to give myself the opportunity. Part of it is giving yourself the opportunity. You need to give yourself the opportunity to do it. I gave myself the opportunity, but I just couldn’t do it. And I had the Fitbit and I was trying and managing and measuring my sleep.

[01:09:18] Anthony Kingsley: I just couldn’t do it and it just, I failed. I mean, I figure that I’ll probably die a bit earlier than my wife, but the number of waking hours that I’m awake during my lifetime might actually be similar, even if she lives 10 years longer than me. Listen, we’ll see.

[01:09:34] William Green: Well, I think one of the things that Matthew doesn’t, when I interviewed him, I think he’s more open about this in private conversation than he is as a sort of public proselytizer is, and I think he’s a very important public proselytizer and sleep’s hugely important, but I think he’s more open and private about the fact that we are very different. And one piece of advice he gave me that was helpful was, he said, set, see what happens at the weekend when you don’t set your alarm, see what happens during the day when you don’t set your alarm, see what time you wake up, and so I, during COVID I started to do that I just wouldn’t set my alarm ever, I still wake up kind of around the same time, but I think I’m so screwed up by the fact that I basically subsist on about 300 cups of coffee a week.

[01:10:17] William Green: And so I think I may just be the worst example on earth, but I, without wanting to be self-referential about this, like, are there other things in terms of productivity and handling stress and operating at a high level that you’ve just found very helpful for yourself?

[01:10:33] Anthony Kingsley: I think I’m I mean, I love what I do. People do a cliche, see, actually, we got any advice for young people is like, follow your passion, do what you do what you enjoy. But I think I’m very lucky. I had no idea about. And I guess I got a job in asset management with time when no one knew what asset management was, or maybe my friends didn’t they knew what investment banking was.

[01:10:54] Anthony Kingsley: And I didn’t really know. And I sort of landed on my feet in a way and its amazing company that, that, I could listen and learn from a lot of people and James Findlay this greatest mentor in my life. And I just love it. I love doing what I do. So that makes life. The last 30 years really great.

[01:11:11] Anthony Kingsley: I mean, you get paid to, to learn about the world and make a few bets and make a few mistakes and hopefully learn from those and get better. And it’s just, I love what I do. So I think that’s really important in, in a sort of mental wellbeing. I have an amazing wife who is. My rock. I mean, she’s incredibly supportive.

[01:11:31] Anthony Kingsley: We’ve been together for since we were 20. And if I ever have issues where I’m thinking about. This issue I need to solve or sometimes it’s not someone at work. You can talk to her about it. I mean, I have my managing partner here, Simon, who we are open with, but she’s been incredibly helpful and helping me solve problems and manage through the odd issue here or there, or key turning points in when decisions need to be made.

[01:11:56] Anthony Kingsley: I’ve got a very supportive, she’s got a very supportive family. I mean, she’s also been incredibly supportive. So it has made it pretty easy. And I think somehow, we’ve sort of found a way to have a good balance. And when you, I mean, she’d always say, actually, I’d like you to take a bit more holiday away.

[01:12:10] Anthony Kingsley: You’d like to work a bit less hard, but look, this is the job I have, and I love it. And it’s a responsibility and that’s so you, you take that seriously.

[01:12:19] William Green: And now When you look back on your success over the last 30 years, obviously there’s been a great deal of hard work and skill and you had good principles and a good mentor and good temperament and the like.

[01:12:34] William Green: But I’m wondering how you feel luck has factored into it, because you did just land there in that training program, the graduate training program with this great investor, James Findlay, you had the luck of focusing on a good market with the US, I mean, it wouldn’t have been so good if you’d spent the last 25 years focusing on FTSE 100 stocks.

[01:12:52] William Green: How do you apportion the degree of success that’s come from luck and the degree that’s come from skill, do you think?

[01:13:00] Anthony Kingsley: I think it’s a hell of a lot of luck. I mean, as you said, I didn’t know anything about asset management. I sort of got put on the U. S. desk. Working with Andrew Barker, who was my boss at the time and James Findlay.

[01:13:12] Anthony Kingsley: And seeing this kid who was 15 years older than me, I say kid, I was the kid, but he was a young guy in his sort of mid-thirties making his way and we hit it off. We connected. We somehow, we connected and I helped him and he loved to talk through ideas. And I was there to sort of be a sounding board.

[01:13:28] Anthony Kingsley: And I was a sponge. I mean, I love to learn. I’ve always loved, I think maybe this is the area that isn’t so much like, you talk about. Curiosity. It’s this theme that runs through your head. I’ve always been curious about, learning. I’m sort of quite, I’m sort of okay at a lot of things.

[01:13:44] Anthony Kingsley: I’m actually very good at anything, but whether it’s sort of playing snooker or darts or skiing, or I’ve always wanted to try and master yoga or now it’s calisthenics. I’m sort of learning what, I’ve just tried and, I love to learn and challenge myself in new things. Then I think I have a temperament, which is, I don’t necessarily love to follow the crowd.

[01:14:08] Anthony Kingsley: I love the road less traveled. My temperament is suited at, James’s philosophy of managing downside risk, if you’re wrong, rather than going for that kind of shiny object. where you can make lots of money and make a quick buck. I love this idea of getting wealthy slowly and for your clients building wealth and doing it in a way that, I’m very comfortable making decisions that not necessarily what other people are doing.

[01:14:34] Anthony Kingsley: I’m incredibly comfortable with that and even in some of my hobbies, my collecting, I love collecting and often I’m doing, I’m zigging where I’m, zigging with others, zagging or whatever the right phrase is and then you look down the road and you just sort of project out and somehow, the world comes towards you and yeah, so there’s a lot of luck and there’s a bit of skill and there’s a bit of temperament and who knows sort of bit of all of that.

[01:14:58] William Green: What are you collecting?

[01:15:00] Anthony Kingsley: Oh I mean, I’ve collected so many different things over the years, but when I had a bit less money, sort of stamps and, and then I’ve actually been collecting, I’m not a lot of people know this, but I’ve been collecting watches over the last 25 years. I got really into watches.

[01:15:16] Anthony Kingsley: I inherited a watch and I thought, wow, what is this? And I went down a rabbit hole and found out what it was. And then from there, I sort of discovered this whole world. But the watches I collected are completely off the beaten track. They’re not, these are not Rolex watches or [Inaudible] watches. They’re actually watches that are made by independent makers.

[01:15:35] Anthony Kingsley: So independent, people who have mastered the skill of making a watch all by themselves. And there was a chap called George Daniels, who I met in in, early on, as I sort of went down this route. And I couldn’t believe that he made You know, he could make a wristwatch every year, one wristwatch a year, or a pocket watch, all by himself, every single part, from the dial to the case to the movement to the, the jewels, the everything.

[01:16:01] Anthony Kingsley: It was just mind boggling. And I. So I bought a few of his watches which had turned out quite well, but again, it wasn’t what people were doing at the time. And I think I’ve always been quite comfortable with that.

[01:16:11] Anthony Kingsley: So there is a sort of parallel in the way that you invest in the way you collect watches. It turns out there is, yeah.

[01:16:19] William Green: It sounds like there’s an emphasis on quality. Emphasis on what endures a willingness to go your own direction.

[01:16:26] Anthony Kingsley: And the road less travel doing what other people don’t. If I’m wrong, I’m going to have something that I really enjoy. I don’t think I lose much money. And if I do want to sell it, but if I’m right, there’s sort of optionality down the road.

[01:16:38] Anthony Kingsley: Who knows? It wasn’t actually, I think I had one eye on, on a return but it was sort of driven by, probably driven by passion. And yeah, this idea of doing something different from others. His watches are in, demand the world over and, it’s absolutely bonkers.

[01:16:53] William Green: But there’s also a combination of quality and value there, which is not dissimilar to what you’re looking for with companies that you’re trying to get a lot of quality, but you’re not paying your, you don’t want to overpay for something that’s faddish and in vogue.

[01:17:09] Anthony Kingsley: That’s true. And actually, when you look at a lot of the, look at, you look at many of these big brands, actually, a lot of the, a lot of their cost is, there’s cost that goes into the making of the product, but there’s a lot of marketing.

[01:17:20] Anthony Kingsley: There’s a lot of marketing to convince you, whether it’s in, in magazines or whether it’s in sporting events or promoting famous people or mega stars in different sports. So I like the idea that you were not really paying for the marketing. You’re just paying. The artists for the product and you’re getting something a bit different and, you’re engaging with that artist while they make the products.

[01:17:43] Anthony Kingsley: You have to have a lot of patience, sometimes it might take three years, four years. to get something at the end of it.

[01:17:50] William Green: It’s interesting also, it’s sort of Findlay Park story as well, because you guys aren’t big marketers, you’re going under the radar you’ve never really talked that much in public and yet, you’ve quietly and humbly gone about actually racking up really high quality returns, and so there’s something quite English about it as well, like not that much fuss and self-aggrandizement, but quite a lot of quality.

[01:18:16] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah, I think James, James and Charlie set the culture. They’re sort of low key people. Personally, I think you should have been, you should have been interviewing James and not me. I mean, he’s far more interesting and a real legend in my view but not well known because he’s just such a low key person that he doesn’t, caught the limelight.

[01:18:35] Anthony Kingsley: We never, he never really sort of did press interviews. We were sort of closed and just, that’s just the way he liked it. Didn’t need a lot of the, a claim that perhaps other investors like. He

[01:18:46] William Green: also seems to have established a trend of the firm being quite charitable, like I, I know that you have a couple million dollars or so a year as a firm to lots of different charities, and when I went to your event, you had charities like City Harvest there that a friend of mine used to run and that Nick Sleeps in very involved with, and it seems like That’s also a very central part of this, that it’s not big on swagger and there is something kind of charitable and decent about it. What do you think?

[01:19:18] Anthony Kingsley: It’s not something that we really talk much about. Again, it’s sort of, we like to be sort of low key about these things, but James, myself we both feel we’ve been incredibly fortunate this country has given us, opportunity. We managed to make good careers out of that.

[01:19:35] Anthony Kingsley: And there is a feeling that we both have of the need to give back. To give back that we’ve got stakeholders here. Our most important stakeholder is our customer who wants to deliver great compound returns for a long period of time, but we want to look after employees and we want to give back to society.

[01:19:51] Anthony Kingsley: And so we do give back a not insubstantial amount of our profits to charity. And we have a social responsibility committee here and we engage employees in charitable giving and we give money, we give time. So we bring people through Findlay Park and see if we can help them and we give our time and, charity is not just about giving money, it’s also about giving time and so, yeah, we do our bit.

[01:20:20] William Green: Yeah, there’s a, it’s interesting that aspect of moral seriousness about the company, which I think also, I mean, we talked about James saying to you, treat the customer fairly. I think it’s also running through the AST stuff. I was struck by the fact that you had outright bans basically on investing in certain types of company that were derived like more than 10 percent of their revenue from things like coal fired power and coal mining or from oil sands or tobacco or controversial weapons like cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines and the like.

[01:20:54] William Green: So there is a sort of moral aspect to it and I was struck also I mean, going back to the AST thing, I was struck that I think in 2021, you said that you sold Nike due to human rights and geopolitical tensions. So there is a kind of moral aspect to this approach to investing.

[01:21:14] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah, I mean, we’re getting into sort of, dangerous ground here. I mean, the primary litmus tests is our investment philosophy checklist. And the, the truth is that many of those companies that you mentioned do not score well. on our investment philosophy checklist. And so we tend to avoid them. I think you do get into dangerous ground sometimes when you try and put some kind of moral overlay onto your investing framework.

[01:21:43] Anthony Kingsley: And we try and be, pragmatic, which I think I mentioned, but when it comes to things like tobacco and coal and oil sands and so on, yeah, they’re not great fits with what we’re trying to do.

[01:21:57] William Green: I think what’s really interesting is the way that you put it in terms of this framework of what’s sustainable.

[01:22:05] William Green: Like, like, so it is a pragmatic thing. It’s investing in business that are sustainable. And likewise, when you’re investing as a firm looking to make money over decades. And so I like that that there’s a there’s a good argument that’s not really idealistic and dogmatic, but that’s actually practical.

[01:22:26] William Green: It’s like, yeah, there are reasons to, to bet on companies that are helping their customers and that are making their customers lives better rather than on things that maybe are making society worse.

[01:22:38] Anthony Kingsley: Well, I think that’s absolutely right. I think responsibly managed companies behaving responsibly is a great way to generate compound rate of returns, compound returns over time.

[01:22:48] Anthony Kingsley: I mean, ultimately, that’s what we’re trying to achieve. And we think responsibly managed companies are best place to do that. And. We’re looking for businesses where we have a high degree of inevitability in the long term outcome. And that’s where we’re guided to by our checklist.

[01:23:05] William Green: I wanted to ask you one last thing, Anthony, if I may, which is when we first met early, I think in 2023, it was through a relative of yours, Simon Kelton, who’s an old and dear friend of mine from high school and then college. And one of the reasons you’d stumbled upon Simon and become close to him was because you’d done, you and he had done all this genealogical research, tracking your family back, maybe even to like the 13th century or something.

[01:23:32] William Green: And I was wondering if you could just tell us a little about it, because it’s such a strange story about what you discovered as you, I think you got this company, [Inaudible], among other things, and you started to really dig deep into your family history. What did you find out?

[01:23:49] Anthony Kingsley: Yeah. So, I mean, my, my parents were both sort of immigrants.

[01:23:55] Anthony Kingsley: My mother came to the UK. My, my father was descendant of immigrants who arrived at the UK some, sometime earlier. And I mentioned I’m sort of curious and I like to sort of learn about a lot of things. And when I spoke to them, they never really completely answered questions about, I always felt that I never really got the full answer.

[01:24:14] Anthony Kingsley: And so after my father died in 2008, I decided, I said to my mother, I really want to find out the truth. Because I think actually understanding where you’ve come from, in my view, and having done this, I believe this even more. Understanding where you come from helps you understand yourself. and helping understand yourself. It’s no bad thing in life, some of these things are very deep rooted and can go back a long way. And so, so I embarked on this journey as sort of, actually, initially, it was just sort of ancestry. com and I discovered my, my cousin Simon Kelson, who you’ve known for years.

[01:24:49] Anthony Kingsley: It was also, it also made a tree, a family tree on and we sort of came together and I didn’t know Simon. Although, interestingly, his uncle was chairman of Findlay Park, how bizarre, a four or five person company, and it turned out that James Findlay had appointed Simon’s uncle as chairman of Findlay Park and had hired me, I’m not quite sure about that, I used to go home and tell my wife, Robin, who sadly has passed away now, really reminds me of my father.

[01:25:18] Anthony Kingsley: And I used to say this and sadly he died before I found out that he was my cousin, Simon’s uncle. So, so yeah, it turned out actually we had an awful lot in common and he’s become obviously his family, but he’s become a great friend. I’m godfather to his eldest daughter.

[01:25:32] William Green: And it’s a wonderful, it’s been a wonderful journey. And I found out a lot about myself, which has helped me, I think it’s helped me in life. And actually perhaps even more so than that brought family together. In a way that if I could say, if I say I’ve done nothing else in life through this, I have brought family together and it may actually be my greatest achievement and that, that makes me feel good.

[01:25:57] William Green: One thing I loved when Simon started to dig into the family history is that when we were at Oxford together, He was so posh and charming in a kind of classic Old Etonian way like very smooth very charming. He at one point I think he wrote a book called I think the rich bastards guide to living in LA, right?

[01:26:19] William Green: So he was sort of the quintessential elegant polished urbane upper class Englishman. And then, when he starts to dig into the family history, discovers that I think it maybe was his great grandfather, who had been this very posh seeming English wasp, and then turns out to have been Jewish and to have concealed it.

[01:26:39] William Green: And I come from a similar Jewish background, and what I love is that Simon was so pleased to discover this, like, instead of this being a source of shame as it would have been to some posh English families, he was so delighted to discover, that, as the poem says, we contain multitudes, that he contained multitudes. What do you think?

[01:27:01] Anthony Kingsley: Absolutely. I felt exactly the same way as him. And of course, his family is my family. So we were both delighted, but you know, there are some people who don’t want to discover these things and would rather not. And it’s a little bit awkward. So, but for Simon and me, we were absolutely delighted and we want to learn about, where we’ve come from and our ancestors and the challenges they faced and how fortunate we are to be here as a result of all the things that they did for us.

[01:27:28] William Green: Is that the biggest lesson in a way, that sense of your good fortune that your family had gone through so much over the centuries and you end up here in this incredibly privileged position?

[01:27:40] Anthony Kingsley: Absolutely. I mean, I think that this country, whether it was my mother or father, or their ancestors, the UK gave them opportunity.

[01:27:50] Anthony Kingsley: And at some stage, I am incredibly grateful, so, I live in the UK, I pay my taxes I don’t do anything clever, and I like to give back to this country and I’m still, as I said earlier, hugely optimistic about so many of the aspects of the UK that make this country so, so remarkable.

[01:28:09] William Green: The social mobility has been incredible. I talk about this a lot with my mother, because my… Grandparents really were pretty poor and came from tough backgrounds. And my grandfather used to sleep in the kitchen of his apartment, his parent’s apartment in Glasgow in Scotland, just sharing it with his brother.

[01:28:29] William Green: And my grandfather became an eye surgeon and his brother became a brain surgeon. And then they sent my dad to Westminster and to Oxford, these very privileged schools and then I went to Eton and Oxford. And the social mobility that’s been possible. In the UK, which really reminds me of the US is such a stunning thing.

[01:28:48] William Green: And we’ve been such incredible beneficiaries of that, of the fact that both the UK and the US took in talented people in my case, people who’d fled from Russia and Poland and Ukraine and let them thrive and get ahead and give them good educations and healthcare and the like, and an opportunity.

[01:29:07] William Green: It’s really, it’s a very humbling and an important thing to recognize. I think it’s a mark of why the UK and the U. S. have been so successful.

[01:29:17] Anthony Kingsley: Yes, I know. I agree. And I’m hugely grateful to, to this country. And my wife and I, in addition to the giving that we do at Findlay Park we set up a charitable foundation about 15 years ago, and it is focused and always has been on reducing social inequality in the UK.

[01:29:33] Anthony Kingsley: It’s not to say there aren’t other hugely worthy causes, but that’s, you can’t do everything. You can’t be all things to all people. And focus is important. Focus on Findlay Park. And we’ve focused. And we that’s what we’re trying to do in our small way, is to have an impact and give back, to the extent that we can, uh, in the areas of education training and mental well-being through human intervention from kind of cradle to grave.

[01:29:59] Anthony Kingsley: And so we currently support about 40 charities in the foundation and it’s all focused on improving social equality, social mobility in the UK.

[01:30:09] William Green: That’s a beautiful note on which to end. Anthony, it’s been such a delight chatting with you. I’m really glad that Simon introduced us and that we’ve got to hang out several times in the last year and I look forward to many more conversations with you in the years to come.

[01:30:23] Anthony Kingsley: William, thank you so much.

[01:30:25] William Green: It’s been a real pleasure.

[01:30:27] William Green: All right, folks. Thanks a lot for tuning in to this conversation with Anthony Kingsley. I’ll be back soon with some more fascinating guests, including Laura Geritz, a really interesting global investor who talks at length about high performance habits and the importance of reducing the noise and complexity and mental clutter in our lives.

[01:30:46] William Green: It’s a subject I’ve been thinking about a great deal lately. I also have a special episode coming up that explores a hugely important trend in investing which is the enormous wave of money pouring into innovative climate change solutions. including everything from electric cars to solar energy. My guest, Bruce Usher, says the transition to a low carbon future is creating the investment opportunity of a lifetime.

[01:31:12] William Green: He actually believes that what we’re witnessing is the greatest reinvention of the global economy since the Industrial Revolution. It’s a very interesting and timely conversation that I hope you all find as thought provoking as I did. In the meantime, please feel free to follow me on Twitter @WilliamGreen72 and do let me know how you’re liking the podcast. I’m always delighted to hear from you. Until next time, take good care and stay well.

[01:31:38] Outro: Thank you for listening to TIP. Make sure to subscribe to We Study Billionaires by The Investor’s Podcast Network. Every Wednesday, we teach you about Bitcoin, and every Saturday, we study billionaires and the financial markets.

[01:31:53] Outro: To access our show notes, transcripts, or courses, go to This show is for entertainment purposes only. Before making any decision, consult a professional. This show is copyrighted by The Investor’s Podcast Network. Written permission must be granted before syndication or rebroadcasting.


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