Stockholm (HedgeNordic) – In March 2013, young accountant Andreas Aaen launched a long/short equity fund with ‘friends and family’ capital to put his accounting, company analysis, and stock-picking skills to the test. Fast forward to today, Aaen’s Symmetry Invest is celebrating its ten-year anniversary, having delivered an annualized return of 19.1 percent, reached $100 million in assets under management, and grown from a one-member team into a team of seven people.
“It has been a fantastic and not least educational journey. Time flies almost too quickly when you are working with what you are passionate about,” founder and portfolio manager Andreas Aaen comments on reaching the tenth anniversary. “Over a ten-year time period, there will be ups and downs in the stock markets and it is always about learning from the market,” continues Aaen. “The past few years in particular have offered greater fluctuations and we have shown the ability to adapt the portfolio and at the same time achieve some of the best results for Symmetry Invest.”
“Crises will come and go, but if we constantly work in a structured way to buy the best companies, we will be able to create great value over time.”
Symmetry Invest, which relies on a long/short equity approach to invest in European small and mid-cap stocks, generated an annualized return of 13.8 percent in the past five years alone. This five-year time period has been particularly difficult and volatile for equity investors, starting from the volatile fourth quarter of 2018 to the coronavirus-stricken first quarter of 2020, and the challenging environment of 2022. “Crises will come and go, but if we constantly work in a structured way to buy the best companies, we will be able to create great value over time,” points out Aaen.
Expectations Going Forward
Passive investing has been a rewarding experience for equity investors for more than a decade, with a major contributor to success lying in the extended outperformance of large-cap technology companies. The market environment going forward will likely reward much greater selectivity among asset classes and individual securities. “We have seen a decade where tech stocks were on the rise and investors would have been pretty safe by buying some of the big companies or a broader index,” says Aaen. “We expect that to change and it will be crucial to pick your investment carefully for the coming years,” he emphasizes. “As an active manager, we should benefit from an environment like that.”
As short-term performance in financial markets is unpredictable, Symmetry Invest will aim to generate an annualized return of above 15 percent over a five-year period. “Predicting the short-term future is always difficult and therefore we have a long-term focus in our investments,” says Aaen. Having started out as a one-man firm with few resources, Symmetry Invest is better equipped and positioned to reach its return objective as the fund steps into the second decade of action.
“Symmetry Invest started at the back of the financial crisis as a one-man band and has grown into a strong team with seven passionate members for the future.”
“Symmetry Invest started at the back of the financial crisis as a one-man band and has grown into a strong team with seven passionate members for the future,” says Aaen. The Aalborg -based boutique has also invested heavily in a better setup for data processing, and subscriptions, among other things, to strengthen the team’s research capabilities. “It is an ongoing process, and we always aim to be at our best,” emphasizes Aaen.
“Time is the most important factor as an investor,” concludes Aaen. “You can have ups and downs in shorter periods for different reasons, but if you deliver high returns over a decade, you have proven your fund, strategy and team to be there for the long run. That makes investors trust you.”