Why do Sun Life MFS Funds all share this investment philosophy? Because long-term discipline is one of the three pillars of investment success at MFS. MFS was the first company in the United States to launch mutual funds nearly a century ago.
The year 2022 marks an important anniversary for Sun Life: the acquisition of MFS 40 years ago.
Throughout its history, MFS has sought out positive returns by investing for the long term. Holding stocks for long periods is one way MFS stays true to its convictions. Three elements make up this investment strategy.
Thinking long term
MFS typically holds a stock from five to ten years. That’s much longer than the industry average. It takes a long-term position and does not get involved in short-term speculation.
What’s the purpose of holding stocks for so long? To avoid short-term market noise. MFS has the patience to wait for stocks to reach their full potential value. They believe that investing with a long-term perspective is the best way to deliver the risk-adjusted returns that investors need. Also, as long-term investors they use robust research from their global platform to build conviction.
The clearest example goes back to 1924, when MFS was founded. Portfolio managers purchased shares in two of the biggest companies of the day. Those two names were in the MFS portfolio for roughly 90 years.
Thinking long term has always been part of MFS’s heritage because they believe it helps investors reach their financial goals. MFS portfolio managers see themselves as investors, not stock market traders.
Sustainability and responsible investing are key
MFS factors environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into its research. Understanding what can affect a company's sustainable value now and in the future is the key to allocating capital responsibly over the long term.
MFS encourages companies to integrate ESG factors into their business strategy instead of focusing on returns alone. It prefers to engage in discussions with company management around ESG factors to understand all aspects of risk that may affect that company.
MFS’s driving philosophy is to allocate capital responsibly. Responsible ownership is a time intensive process. They feel that it entails engaging with the firms that you invest in at a management level but, most important of all, it entails active participation at a governance level.
It’s why MFS also incorporates sustainability or ESG factors into their long-term research. At this level, driving change towards forward-looking and more sustainable practices benefits both society and investors, but it takes time. They feel that only patient investors may get to reap the considerable benefits of these transformations over time.
Continuity and succession planning
The long-term perspective also factors into succession planning at MFS. It takes a generational view of continuity.
Long-term discipline is essential to make sure its investment process is repeatable and reliable. As a result, MFS carefully develops each generation of investment talent within the teams that manage the funds, from fund managers to the leadership teams.
Ultimately, by holding shares for long periods and staying true to its convictions, MFS creates long-term value by investing responsibly. And that is a hallmark of the Sun Life MFS Funds.
1 MFS Investment Management or MFS refers to MFS Investment Management Canada Limited and MFS Institutional Advisors, Inc. MFS Investment Management is the sub-advisor to the Sun Life MFS Funds; SLGI Asset Management Inc. is the registered portfolio manager.
Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the fund’s prospectus. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.
The views expressed in this commentary are those of the authors and are subject to change at any time. Views expressed regarding a particular company, security, industry or market sector should not be considered an indication of trading intent of any mutual funds managed by SLGI Asset Management Inc. or sub-advised by MFS. These views are not to be considered as investment advice nor should they be considered a recommendation to buy or sell.
Information presented has been compiled from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made with respect to its timeliness or accuracy. This commentary may contain forward-looking statements about the economy and/or markets; their future performance, strategies or prospects. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, are speculative in nature and cannot be relied upon.