Scott Woods and David Dudding on sustainable competitive advantage and quality growth

Scott Woods and David Dudding on sustainable competitive advantage and quality growth

Global equities portfolio managers David Dudding (Global Focus strategy) and Scott Woods (Global Smaller Companies Strategy) recently sat down with the Columbia Threadneedle Investments EMEA content team to discuss their investment processes, how they work, and their favourite foods, bands and sports teams.


The fund managers gave an overview of global equities investing, how they got into asset management, what their typical day looks like and, finally, some fun facts about themselves.

Scott Woods explains that his strategy is focused on smaller, niche companies, while David Dudding runs a concentrated portfolio of 40 quality growth companies that offer high returns on capital. Both cite the use of Porter’s Five Forces formula to judge the strength of a business versus competitors and they also agree that they want to know the businesses they own very well, to the point where company meetings are regular and often take place in company headquarters around the world.

Dudding speaks about financial companies and argues that, while it is unusual for a quality focused fund to choose financials, in India, private sector banks are becoming compelling investments. The Indian economy has grown significantly, and demographics are supportive. There are low levels of borrowing with a long runway for growth in the financial system. The government is encouraging people to set up bank accounts, and electronification means there’s no need for many branches.

Woods says there are lots of exciting tech businesses around with clear, sustainable advantages and cites the example of simulation software businesses.


Elsewhere in the podcast, the portfolio managers reveal how they got into asset management: David via a business background in Hong Kong and a return trip to university; and Scott after a chemistry degree. But which one of them bought shares in a chocolate company aged 11?

So to a rapid-fire section of the podcast on personal likes/dislikes. But which manager places Paul Simon at the top of his favourite albums list; who likes the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; whose favourite food is squid sandwiches; and which man supports Crystal Palace?

Listen to the full conversation below

1 January 2020
Scott Woods and David Dudding
Scott Woods and David Dudding
Portfolio Managers
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January 2020
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