This is an extract from our February 2022 newsletter, Gryphiti, that serves as a reminder that our investors live in a world beyond the confines and rules of the investment regime; a reminder for us to lift our heads and look towards the horizon of humanity.
This edition of Beyond Boundaries draws on the wisdom and courage of the Stoics. The splendour of truth and ancient wisdom is that it remains unchanging—what was true and profound in the time of the toga, is still so in the time of TikTok.
Integral to Gryphon’s ethos is the commitment to constantly reflect and review, to try to observe without ego or prejudice whether we have neglected to include relevant information, what we’ve overlooked, are we honouring rational thought.
While being awarded a Raging Bull is obviously wonderful recognition of our process over the longer term, we are mindful of the challenges faced by our investors currently. And so it is that we, as an investment house, must ensure that we acknowledge and take responsibility for what is ours to control.
Much of what follows is inspired by an insightful article, Investing Lessons from Epictetus by Mimmi Kheddache Jendeby The Stoic philosopher, Epictetus, says, “Some things are up to us and some are not. Our opinions are up to us and our impulses, desires, aversions—in short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations,…or, that is, whatever is not our own doing”.
As an investment manager, there is no certainty as to what markets will do, what regulatory conditions will prevail or what our peers are likely to deliver. Furthermore, the behaviour of clients is largely beyond our ability to influence.
What is ours to control is our integrity, our purpose, our organizational culture…and the way that we invest our client’s wealth. What we reap will depend to a large degree on what we sow.
How we treat our clients and staff is within our control. It is the authenticity and care invested here that ultimately builds trust.
Being able to distinguish between these two facets, what we can control and what we can’t, leaves us free to focus on and attend to what we can control while releasing the stress and distraction of trying to control what we can’t.
Thus we apply a philosophy of First Principles (another great explanatory article by the inimitable Farnham Street). This approach was used by Aristotle as well as the modern-day Stoic, Charlie Munger. The idea is to take complexity and to deconstruct it into building blocks, break it right down to fundamental, basic elements; these must be able to stand alone in truth. “First-principles reasoning cuts through dogma and removes the blinders; it enables us to see the world as it is and see what is possible. Some of us are naturally sceptical of what we’re told. Maybe it doesn’t match up to our experiences. Maybe it’s something that used to be true but isn’t true anymore. And maybe we just think very differently about something.” This is what we, as an investment manager, can do — and we aspire and commit to doing so with courage, transparency and wonder.
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal – it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~ Winston Churchill