Value-Focused, Actively Managed Product Suite
Our approach is consistent across all our portfolios. However, we believe each serves a distinct role, and we construct them accordingly. Some emphasize dividends to mitigate volatility and provide a modest stream of income while others pursue opportunities unconstrained by market-cap size. The ultimate goal with each is to provide superior risk-adjusted returns and limit downside participation.
Heartland defines value using our proprietary, consistent, and time-tested 10 Principles of Value Investing™.
Our Investment Team applies a bottom-up approach that combines traditional fundamental analysis as well as meetings with management, competitors, and end clients of the businesses we consider for investment.
We managed about $1.8 billion and our team collectively owned about $40 million in our Funds as of March 31, 2021.
Finding ESG In the Small-Cap World
If a small company acts in a sustainable manner and no one is there to measure it, are its actions still worthwhile?
Far from being a philosophical thought exercise, the question above highlights the challenge faced by investors looking to capitalize on opportunities in the small-cap space and who want their assets to make a positive impact in the world.
By some recent estimates, only about one-third of small companies report ESG data to rating agencies compared to 90% of the companies that make up the large-cap dominated S&P 500. Reasons for the failure to report can range from a lack of resources, to being unfamiliar with the process and importance of publishing data.
A common question is, how can a traditional, bottom-up stock picking firm add to the cause without changing or misrepresenting who they are?
This lack of reliable ESG information needs attention. Who better to work on it than asset managers speaking to under-followed or misunderstood companies?
During update calls with management teams we have taken the opportunity to inform them that there are various groups that monitor good corporate practices and that this is an area that is becoming increasingly important to investors. Several have responded to the conversations by noting that they will be more proactive in their communications.
For small companies to be analyzed on their ESG investing efforts requires timely, accurate information. We believe highlighting the need for improved reporting to management teams is a first step in improving the data and creating a better understanding of the ESG landscape when it comes to small businesses.
While small companies have a long way to go in closing the ESG reporting and information gap compared to their larger counterparts, we believe heightened awareness is taking root, and more robust ESG data will be available in the coming quarters and years.
We hope our efforts will speed up the process.
Heartland has long believed that our success starts with client results but continues into the community. We measure our progress by asking two questions: (1) Are we succeeding for our clients? And (2) Are we helping to enhance the strength and vibrance of the world around us? To that end, Heartland has a long history of working with dozens of partners who share our civic spirit.
Our week begins with what Heartlanders affectionately refer to as the “Monday Morning Meeting,” when analysts, portfolio managers, and other key team members come together to discuss economic releases, market dynamics, and industry analysis. Similarly, each week ends with the Investment Team assembled in our Ben Graham conference room—aptly named for the founder of the Firm’s value investing style—for the “Research Meeting,” focused on stock specific research.
The agendas vary, but the goal of each is consistent—sharing, digesting, and interpreting information that will give us an advantage when competing in the marketplace.
These meetings are open to all team members, and relationship managers regularly attend to represent the eyes, ears, and voices of our clients. The discussions reflect our Midwestern roots in that debates are candid and purposeful with spirited conversations focused on achieving excellence in our investment decisions. All Investment Team members participate on equal footing and are encouraged to express alternate views. Portfolio managers serve in the role of engaged leaders—not unapproachable stars.
Our quest for constant never ending improvement (CNEI) extends beyond the Investment Team. Whether it is earning professional designations or enrolling in classes to develop new skills, team members across the Firm are strongly encouraged in their pursuit of professional and personal growth.
We also bring our passionate approach to causes beyond investing. High importance is placed on giving back to the community, and team members are encouraged to regularly volunteer their time and skills. Our sponsorship of the many local causes we support is deliberate—we support the organizations our team members are most passionate about and in which they are directly involved.
Beyond our value investment philosophy and core business, Heartland is a Firm where camaraderie among coworkers is genuine. From lunches with department heads to the longstanding tradition of new team members providing entertainment at the annual holiday party, inherent respect creates an environment for people to confidently share ideas and information.
Board of Directors & Firm Governance
The investment management, trading, and operational functions of Heartland are governed by comprehensive policies, procedures, and oversight bodies.