Charlotte Cook, in the spotlight

Charlotte Cook, investment manager tells us about her best investment decisions, her top three fund picks, and a legendary dinner party!

Q: What was it that first attracted you to the world of finance?

A: Having studied business management at university, I knew I wanted to work in the industry. Completing a summer internship at Kleinwort Benson (now Kleinwort Hambros) offered me the opportunity to have exposure to different areas of the business. I found I could combine my interest in investments with anthropology by having daily interaction and building long-term relationships with clients.

Q: Who is your investment hero or someone you admire in the industry?

A: Helena Morrissey. No doubt she has had an extensive career in finance, cumulating in her appointment as CEO of Newton Investment Management which, under her leadership, saw its AUM double. However, it has to be what she has given back to the industry that I find most admirable. From founding the 30% club in a push to increase female board representation, to her campaigning to promote diversity and young talent. All of this she has done while raising nine children.

Q: What were your first, best and worst investment decisions?

A: My first and probably one of my best investments was to start putting money into my ISA as soon as I started earning, and it is something that I would advise everyone to do. Aside from my ISA, my best investment decision over the last few years has to be my regional bias towards the US, which has provided access to some transformational businesses with phenomenal success. And my worst, a horse. It cost a lot more to keep than expected and didn’t sell for as much as you would think. On the plus side, it taught me hard work and kept me out of trouble for most of my teens.

Q: What advice would you give to young talent who want to enter the industry?

A: If you can, try to get some sort of work experience or an internship which will offer you exposure to a number of areas within a business. This also allows you to get your name known within a firm, rather than crossing their desk as one of hundreds of CVs when applying for a role. From here, get your head down and learn as much as you can, remembering that you never stop learning. You also want to work towards your professional exams.

Q: In what way is being of a younger generation an advantage in your role?

A: Like many of my generation, I have a desire to leave the planet in a better place than we found it, and it’s from this mindset that we can offer an alternative view when it comes to sustainable investing. Combining financial gain for our clients while providing a positive impact on our communities and planet is key. I would also say as a generation we have the advantage of growing up with technology, however, my IT skills leave much to be desired.

Top three fund picks?

  • Smith & Williamson Artificial Intelligence
  • Brown Advisory US Sustainable Growth
  • BlackRock Sustainable Energy

Q: What is your perfect tea/biscuit combination?

A: Builder’s tea, a dash of milk (almond) and no sugar, with a digestive. Sounds simple but you can’t beat it.

Q: If you were marooned on a desert island. What one book, one album and one practical item would you choose?

A: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, the best book to come out of lockdown. Chef soundtrack and a fishing rod. I’d like to think with the free time I could learn a new activity.

What three people (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party? And what do you cook?

David Attenborough, Coco Chanel and Michelle Obama. You can’t beat a Sunday roast: lamb of course.