We are very excited to welcome Luke Hallard as our newest 7investing lead advisor!
January 19, 2022
We are very excited to welcome Luke Hallard as our newest 7investing lead advisor!
Luke has a degree in Computer Science from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. His first role was as a software engineer in the team developing the air-traffic control system that still manages all UK and transatlantic airspace. He transitioned from technology to finance in 1996, joining HSBC James Capel Investment Bank, and in 2021 retired from a 25-year career as a Programme Director leading organisational change. Luke’s knowledge of conduct, financial crime risk, data privacy, sanctions screening, anti-money laundering, and payments transparency is happily fading into a hazy memory of bureaucracy and complexity.
Luke primarily invests in technology and innovation, with a current bias towards health-tech and companies enabling the ‘work from anywhere’ economy. By his own admission, he’s not a deep domain expert in any area, and instead invests across many sectors, feeling that this offers greater portfolio agility if market forces don’t play out in the way he anticipates. Luke primarily invests in US equities, but he also has a handful of angel investments, with two successful exits to date.
Although Luke’s portfolio spans many industries, a key factor his personal investments have in common is that they all seek to make the world a better, less complex place. Luke invests with his head, but his heart occasionally exercises the power of veto.
Luke and Simon first met when Simon guested on the Telescope Investing podcast, hosted by Luke and his co-founder Albert. Simon immediately recognised the close affinity between 7investing and the long-term growth investing strategy that Luke has successfully employed through the last eighteen years, delivering a market-beating compound growth rate in his personal portfolio of over 26% annually.
Luke holds trustee and grant panel roles with multiple UK charities in the social welfare sector. He’s married to Katrina, and they live in London with their Siberian cat, Sushi.
Luke has a passion for health and physical fitness. He’s completed the London Marathon, and is currently training for a 4x4x48 challenge, running four miles every four hours for 48 hours. He dedicates his winters to skiing and snowboarding, and in a final bid to successfully land a back-flip on a board he recently attended trampoline classes.
Luke is a motorcycling enthusiast and regularly tours Europe by bike, although his favourite stretches of roads are in Japan. He’s embarrassingly slow on the racetrack despite living fifteen minutes from an internationally renowned motor racing circuit, and spent his younger years volunteering as an observer with the Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists.
Simon Erickson 00:01
Okay, hello, everyone. I’m 7investing founder and CEO Simon Erickson. I’m here with our Director of Marketing Samantha Bailey. We’re here, Sam with a really exciting announcement that it’s just kind of a fun one we get to go live and talk about. I’m pretty pumped up about our news today here, Sam.
Samantha Bailey 00:17
I am so excited. It feels like Christmas morning. So what’s the big news Simon Erickson?
Simon Erickson 00:22
Christmas indeed comes early for 7investing. Our news today is that we’ve hired our seventh lead advisor for the team. Before we introduce him formally, and for anyone who’s been following along on our Twitter feed, I do want to kind of set the scene a little bit. This is someone that I was immediately impressed with. This is someone that I think has got a very keen eye for global innovation, has a fantastic and tenured track record of investing success. And also Sam really just lives our mission of empowering others every single day. And so with that said, I am very excited to welcome Luke Hallard as the seventh advisor for 7Investing. Luke, I am so excited to say this welcome to the 7Investing team.
Luke Hallard 01:08
Thank you so much, Simon. Thank you, Sam. It’s a real pleasure to be on the stream today, but particularly to have the opportunity to join the company.
Simon Erickson 01:15
Now look, you’re based in London, but the scenery in your background has changed a little bit in the last month or two. Where are you right now in the world?
Luke Hallard 01:23
My wife and I are currently in Costa Rica and we came out on a two and a half week vacation and then London seem to be falling into the clutches of Coronavirus. So we’re now on week six of that two week vacation.
Simon Erickson 01:36
Sounds nice – being on the beaches of Costa Rica. Not so bad. Well, look, we’re gonna chat a little bit about your investing style. Want to talk about that track record that I alluded to. I want to talk about market volatility and how we can think about this. But maybe first and foremost, tell us a little bit about yourself. Can you tell us about your professional background first?
Luke Hallard 01:52
Yeah, absolutely. So I guess I’m a I’m a Londoner, I live in London with my wife, Katrina and our Siberian cat Sushi. I’m originally a technologist, I got my degree in computer science from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. And then my first job was in that field. So I was a software engineer straight out of uni. And I was working for a company developing the air traffic control software that still actually runs all UK and transatlantic airspace. And actually, Simon my little bit was logging and tracking large flocks of birds. So if you ever find yourself flying transatlantic, then you’ll be avoiding those birds because of my code a very, very long time ago.
Simon Erickson 02:36
I was wondering who developed that!
Luke Hallard 02:40
But I moved from being a technologist into banking in 1996. And I joined HSBC James Capel investment bank. And I had a 25 year career in banking with HSBC. And I was a change guide, leading organizational change. So I ran a series of global programs to fix our conduct controls, financial crime controls, you know, imagine all big global organizations, but particularly banks, you know, they’re so strict and down with regulation that’s changing all the time, you know, very hard to keep up with that around financial crime risk data, privacy, sanctions, anti money laundering, the list goes on. So that was kind of my role, trying to fix process and policy issues and trying to make the world actually a better a better, safer place for anyone who is banking. But actually, Simon, I will say, I retired from that job in November, just two months ago. And for seven short weeks, I was a professional investor. But I’ve got to say the offer of a lead advisor role, at 7Investing was my dream opportunity. So I’m delighted to come out of what was possibly the world’s shortest retirement ever to take up the challenge.
Simon Erickson 03:56
To prove to everyone the dedication that Luke has to what he’s doing, he pulled him out of retirement on the beaches of Costa Rica to be an advisor here with 7Investing. I’m super excited about that. Thank you, Luke, for the world’s shortest retirement. Let’s double click on you being the “change guy”. You know, you saw quite a bit of innovation, certainly in banking and financial services, but let’s kind of talk about your investing style. You are someone who really is kind of looking at two three steps ahead in the markets and where we’re going out there.
Luke Hallard 04:26
Yeah, I try to. So I’ve been working for the man, working for a bank, I’ve been an investor for a long time now nearly 20 years. And like most people, I started out my investing career investing in passive index trackers and you’re building a base of funds, but I think I discovered growth investing in 2005-2006. And really, that’s been my focus for the last 15-16 years. So today, my investment portfolio is almost entirely US equities. I’ve got a couple of things. capital investments, but mostly US equities. I said, I would say I primarily invest in a bit like yourself technology and innovation. And, you know, I like to invest where fairly broadly, I don’t constrain myself to any particular sector, or idea. But right now, I probably got a bias towards health tech, and then also companies enabling them what we call the work from anywhere economy. I think there’s some really exciting opportunities in both of those spaces. But I will say, you know, not I’m not a deep domain expert in any area, I do invest fairly broadly. And I do think that gives me a bit of an advantage as well. If the company stories or the sector stories aren’t playing out on the way I anticipated, I think it gives me a bit of agility and ability to kind of move around a bit. So I think if you look at my twitter at the moment, I’ve got my current portfolio pinned on there, I think we’ll, we’ll delete that in a couple of days time. But if subscribers wanted to check out kind of how I’m invested, as I come into 7Investing, that’ll give you a good sense of the sort of breadth and, and maybe also the concentration in some of the companies that I really do love and have a passion about.
Simon Erickson 06:15
That’s perfect. And on a personal note, you know, I mentioned earlier in this livestream, about how I was immediately impressed with Luke, that was actually very true. I appeared on Luke and his business partner Albert’s podcast for telescope investing, immediately saw how much research they put into every single one of their podcasts, how methodical they were being about building this real time, real money portfolio that they that they were crafting every single year, and just said, Gosh, Luke really understands what’s going on out there. He sees the trends that are developing, he’s investing for the long term. I think this is a huge win for 7Investing. But how about telescope investing, too? Can you tell us a little bit about that, Luke, and what you’ve been working on for the last year or two here?
Luke Hallard 06:55
Yeah, well, as you say, Simon, we myself in a very, very close friend, Albert founded telescope investing actually in the midst of 2020. So I had the opportunity to take a one year sabbatical from work. And I made some enormous travel plans, but unfortunately, Coronavirus undid most of those, but rather than sort of throwing in the towel on the sabbatical, I thought I’d turn my hand to a sort of hobby project that Albert and I always had in the back of our minds. So we launched telescope investing in, I think, July August 2020. And really, our focus was driven around what at the time we called sectors that had tailwinds. So we tried to look for opportunities or companies that were really potentially driving the successful investments of the future. And if I, if I think about that, now, maybe a different way to frame it would be to say, you know, what are the big questions that today’s society are facing? And I have to give you a few examples of things that are really kind of top of mind for me right now. We’re, we’re about to bring potentially 7 billion people online. I think companies like Google’s Project Loon And Facebook’s internet.org, they had a go at this, but they didn’t really get to the scale. You know, I apologies to any of the Elon Musk haters out there. I do think Starlink have probably got the right solution here. And that’s still early days. But as that rolls out, you know, that’s going to create the ability for, you know, the next billion and the next billion after that people to come online. And can you imagine how that’s going to change the world, even just giving something like YouTube, or, or actually dedicated tools like Khan Academy, to the folk inmall villages in developing nations. I think that’s going to be really going to change the world for the better and real spark for innovation and commerce. So I like to think about questions like that we got throw out one other as well, I think is, is is quite interesting, but also perhaps quite controversial. Are we going to be consuming animals and animal products in 2050? I think this could be a bit like seat belts in cars, it will take decades for us to change our minds. But when we do, it’s suddenly going to seem barbaric to behave in any other way. And so I think if you can get ahead of a trend like that, and anticipate, really what society is really going to be thinking you’re going to want in 10, 20 years time, where you can potentially find the very small companies today that are building the products, building the services that the world of tomorrow is going to launch. And so that was really how Albert and I framed our investing strategy. And that’s the approach I’m really looking forward to bringing to 7Investing now. I will just say also sorry. So you and I have, we’re planning to do a 7inFocus session, hopefully in early February. And I’d like to double click into one of those big questions and really talk a bit about the future of business in the work from anywhere economy. I think that’s really relevant today. And I think it’s going to is changing the world in very fundamental ways, the way we live the way we do business, and the way we collaborate. And I think potentially, there are some very exciting investments to be made right now.
Samantha Bailey 10:18
It’s interesting that you say that Luke because yesterday on Slack, our colleague, Maxx Chatsko, realized that we have seven lead advisors in five different time zones. The perfect, you know, case study on this work from home anywhere movement.
Luke Hallard 10:31
It hasn’t escaped my notice that I’m now going to lose two of my full Fridays every month to a 7investing team call or subscriber call.
Simon Erickson 10:42
Three different continents too Sam, right? So not only just time zones in the US. I mean, Luke, you have got such global experience, not just from your own professional background working in banking, like you said, but also I mean, you’ve lived, what is it seven or 11 different locations over the last month and a half down there? On your travel cards? And Costa Rica, you you have seen kind of what it’s like to bounce around and live remotely?
Luke Hallard 11:05
Yeah, absolutely. And and, you know, dealing with the challenges of Wi Fi dropouts and, and where I am today, I think I mentioned, the wind is absolutely howling, we’re on a big mountain top in, in Costa Rica. So, you know, trying to deal with the challenges of that. But also, you know, being part of the work from anywhere economy and being able to do my job from literally anywhere in the world with a laptop and a Wi Fi connection. I think that’s the future for many of us.
Simon Erickson 11:33
I hear those tailwinds in the background that you were discussing. Perfect. Let’s double click again, on the on the portfolio, you said that you have it up on your Twitter profile, I think that we should leave it up for a couple of days so that everybody can see and get some context on what kinds of investments that Luke likes to make. And by the way, Luke, your Twitter handle is now @7LukeHallard. Right, h a l l a r d, that’s a new twitter handle for you. Welcome to the team. And we encourage everybody to check out Luke’s Twitter handle, send him some warm welcomes and some messages as he’s joined the team here. But let’s let’s talk about the portfolio. Luke, you have an incredible track record, I think we should go out there and talk about that, that you’ve had a 26% compound annual growth rate over 18 years as an investor that I’m certain it has helped you retire before you turn 50 like you mentioned earlier, what is the secret to success? What has helped you achieve such a great track record in the stock market?
Luke Hallard 12:33
Yes, it’s interesting, isn’t it? So I suppose I’ve been very lucky. But I think part of that luck is having some super smart friends and people that I collaborate with. But if I were maybe to perhaps lean on, I don’t know, three, perhaps keys to success. And maybe we can perhaps do a podcast and really go deep on this topic in the future, Simon. But to pick out three things, I think, I try very hard to avoid what I would call emotional investing. I’ve always got a plan for my portfolio. And I try and if market, if the sort of market events take place, I try and respond with my plan, rather than making an emotional reaction. And there’s a couple of tools I’ve used, or I’ve developed over the years, three simple things that have helped me build and stick to that plan.
And it will sound almost trivial, but they’ve just been so powerful for me things like keeping an investment diary. So if I do make an investment, or perhaps add to something, sell something, I just note down why I did that, you know, simple as just putting a note actually in my portfolio management tool itself. So it’s there against the trade. And I do come back and look at that diary and sort of reassess my decisions and see, you know, did I make the right decision in hindsight, and I can improve my process from that.
But also part of avoiding emotion investing, I think is never doing anything quickly being very methodical. So I’ve got a fairly long to do list just in Google Keep a big long list of all the things that I think I might want to do in my portfolio, but I haven’t done just yet. A bit tongue in cheek, you know, on my to do list is sell NANO-X imaging, right, a company that I should probably be getting out of a long time ago. But I’ve just been a bit hesitant to because I try to have a tendency towards inaction. So that you know that being very slow, I think is an advantage and as an investor, and often decisions or investments I would have made. And if I just sleep on it for a few weeks, perhaps I make a slightly different decision. Often waiting has proven to be the right answer.
And I mentioned collaboration, that’s probably the other key to having a long and consistent solid track record. So I do try to actively seek opposing views that challenge my own thinking. And if I want to sell something, maybe chat to someone who’s got the bull case or the bear case if I’m thinking about buying something and You know, we can’t know absolutely everything about the companies we’re invested in. So it’s important to lean on the knowledge of others. And, you know, also share your own knowledge. It’s very collaborative, I think. And in many ways, that’s why services like 7investing, 7investing particularly, are so valuable. The Deep Dive recommendations make it really easy for a layman to come up the learning curve much more quickly, as I’m hopefully looking forward to contributing to that body of knowledge over the coming months.
And then maybe the last thing, which is going to sound a bit, maybe a bit wishy washy, but I think is probably the most powerful tool in my arsenal. And it’s just having incredibly high conviction and passion about the companies I invest in. That’s not to say you should invest ethically and only invest in renewable energy. But I think it’s about knowing your own values, and that investing in line with those. And I think the reason that is a very powerful tool is markets are cyclical, and at the moment, you know, we are hopefully nearing or at the bottom of the cycle. And so just like everybody, every other growth investor, my investments are not looking to pretty, they’re pretty red right now. But because I can lean on my passion and my belief and the due diligence I’ve done in those stocks, rather than just buying them because someone told me to or, you know, I read a quick report and didn’t really think about it, I’m going to stick with the journey. And that’s going to help me not be emotional, and it’s going to help me have my plan. And, you know, ride out the downturns in the market, so that I can benefit from the upside. And, you know, maybe just to give some examples about how I’ve, I’ve used that toolset over the last two decades.
I’ve got some, I guess, not, hopefully not sound too boastful. But I’m lucky to have a number of quite significant returns in my portfolio, and maybe just to pick out one or two, buying into Netflix in 2007. Just as they launched, watch. Now, I think you could only get 10 hours of streaming a month back then. And it was very clear Reed Hastings had a very smart idea. And this was going to be the future of entertainment. So you know, that first position I bought in 2007. And over a 200 times return on that, that was really a big driver of growth in my portfolio in my earlier years. And then perhaps more recently, if you’ve looked at my Twitter, you’ll see I’m a huge bull on a company called Shopify, a Canadian company, fantastic company. I think it’s very clear back in 2015 2016, that Toby Lutke, the CEO and founder was really something quite special, I really loved his focus on small retailers and putting the retailer first. And so it just felt like a very ethical company. And so getting in quite early in 2016, and 17 into Shopify, that’s yielded me a 50x return. Now I’ve got a, there’s a bit of Tesla in there, we won’t go too deep on that. I know that’s a bit of an emotional one. But there’s a number of companies like that where my my framework is looking for the future, trying to stick with the plan. Trying to be unemotional try and challenge my own thinking has allowed me to perhaps develop just the one or two enormous breakaway stocks that have really delivered that market peaking compound growth ratio.
Simon Erickson 18:29
That is fantastic, Luke, I think that anyone watching you might want to rewind and play that segment back again. But just to recap, the three things that Luke said that has helped him as an investor is first of all tendency towards inaction right? Want to wait on positions and be hesitant to sell always, the third thing you mentioned was to have conviction, ultimately, in your large positions in anything that’s in your portfolio. And the second thing that you mentioned, was the collaboration. I point that out as the third point, because you mentioned bull versus bear, it’s probably as good of a time as any, to plug our new podcast format that we’re going to be adding to our 7Investing podcast is a bull versus bear segment. We’re going to be chatting about some interesting companies that have both sides of the coin, one of the recent ones is going to be SEA Limited Luke. And just one other thing that Sam, I wanted to point out that even if you’re not adding any new money in a 26%, compound annual growth rate over 18 years would turn $10,000 into $660,000, over 18 years. That’s even if you’re not adding money along the way. So just simply, the things that Luke pointed out, are working incredibly well it can work to your advantage to compound returns for a long term investor. And thanks for pointing out some of those big winners. Like you said, Netflix was a big one Shopify and Tesla really good positions in your portfolio. I guess we’re kind of closing this out. I do want to ask a little bit about what’s going on in the market right now. We know that we want to be long term investors, we know that we kind of want to tune out a lot of the noise. But it is almost impossible with so many headlines screaming at us about inflation, about volatility, about cost increasing and everything going on in the market right now. How do you think about this? Does this influence your investing style in any way?
Luke Hallard 20:18
I think genuinely, it really doesn’t. I recognize having invested through multiple market cycles now and stocks go up, stocks go down, I think if you just stick with the plan, stick with your approach, once you’ve developed one. When when I look at my portfolio, and if I see things are in the hole, and are looking a bit red, rather than panicking about those things, I actually use that as a prompt to refresh my own due diligence. So, you know, I try and remind myself, I read the latest quarterly reports, and I try and remind myself why it is I’m holding that company. And that that helps me, you know, in some ways, kind of steel my nerves helps me stick with the course. And it helps me avoid doing something rash that I might regret, once we start hitting that upcycle. And, you know, it is scary, I think if you look at if you look at what happens in the market, you know, it’s it’s very, very small moments, one or two days here and there in a cycle where you get these enormous gains. And if you miss those one or two big days, where you can wreck your long term performance. So it’s almost impossible because of that factor. Unless you’re incredibly lucky to time the market, I think the best thing an investor can do is dollar cost average, be very steady. Just continue to invest a little bit of money every month into your best ideas, know why they’re your best ideas, and play the long game. If it’s really, really worrying, you stop looking up, turn off the portfolio tracker for a month, take a break.
Samantha Bailey 21:49
I’m not you know, I’m not an advisor. But I’m grateful to my colleagues because I almost view these downward shifts in the market as buying opportunities I do. I’ve added to my portfolio quite a bit over the last few weeks, because I believe in the conviction I have in some of these companies. Thanks to you guys. You all taught me that. And it’s a buying opportunity. So just buy and hold. And you know, don’t take advice from me. I’m just the Director of Marketing here.
Simon Erickson 22:11
That’s great advice, actually.
Luke Hallard 22:14
That is fantastic advice.
Simon Erickson 22:16
Yeah, well, Luke, we’re really excited to have you on board as a lead advisor at the 7investing team. Welcome. We’re very happy to have you here. hope things are going well for you out there in Costa Rica. And wherever your next location you’re going to end up in. We’re going to really get excited to have your first recommendation published on the first of February, you’ve already selected your company we’re not going to reveal it yet but we know that you’ve locked it in. I’m really excited to have you.
Luke Hallard 22:40
I’m also looking forward to a subscriber call this Friday and a chance to actually interact with our subscribers that’s gonna be really good fun. And I will say I’m I’m on the discord in the community. And I’ve been a little bit quiet up till now but you’ll be hearing a lot more from me. So you know if you’re in there do drop by and say hello, maybe I can do a bit of a Reddit AMA on some of these topics we just raised.
Simon Erickson 23:00
Absolutely. 7investing.com/subscribe if you would like to sign up for 7Investing today. And immediately sign up for our subscriber call that Luke mentioned on Friday, you get a chance to not only chat with him, he’s got some ideas about some of our previous picks on the scorecard he’s going to reveal his best buy from the 7investing scorecard. Kind of neat to join the team and immediately say this is my favorite pick of all of your previous recommendations. We’ll reveal that on Friday subscriber call, which Luke will be a part of. He mentioned our Discord Community Forum. That is something that’s open to everyone as well. We’ll post that to our 7investing Twitter feed. And also anybody that would like to just send a welcome to Luke email@example.com is our email address. @7Investing is our Twitter handle. In fact, Luke, we’ve got some 7investing mugs I’m sending out there for you and for your mom, out in London. But anyone else who sends some some comments to Luke and welcome him to the team, we’re going to randomly select a couple of people in a couple of those comments and give a free coffee mug to because we really are excited about this. I couldn’t be more happy about Luke joining the team. So thanks and welcome to Luke. I’m sorry, Luke. One more thing. Any last comments you’d like to say before we close out here?
Luke Hallard 24:09
I was just going to give a huge thank you. I think it’s a great opportunity. And I’ve followed, I’ve been a paid subscriber of 7investing for coming up for a year now. It’s fantastic to suddenly be the other side of the curtain. And I would say I didn’t realize quite how hard all you guys work and quite how much work is involved in putting together the recommendations and really kind of plotting the course so I think that $49 a month actually is exceptionally good value.
Simon Erickson 24:40
Absolutely thanks very much Luke. We’re looking forward to chatting with Luke more on the subscriber call this Friday please come check out 7investing.com/subscribe if you’d like to be a part of that Luke’s Twitter Henry handle is @7LukeHallard please send some warm welcomes to him on Twitter or an email. And Sam, I think that’s a wrap for today. We’ll chat with everyone again on Friday
Samantha Bailey 25:03
Simon Erickson 25:05
Thanks everyone for joining. We’ll talk to you again soon.
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