Darden Capital Management

Rotunda Fund

Overview

The Rotunda Fund integrates sustainability research with fundamental analysis to select investments that are likely to outperform the market due to the improved long-term financial performance and lower risk features that accompany sustainable practices.  Sustainability research provides unique and valuable insights into management and internal operations of an organization.  Companies with sound environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) practices have competitive advantages over their peer institutions; these competitive advantages can include lower costs due to efficiency, reduced risk of litigation/environmental liabilities, and lower volatility of raw material costs.  Therefore, sustainability practices are expected to yield market-outperforming risk-adjusted returns.  The Rotunda Fund integrates sustainability research with fundamental analysis to purchase “best in class” companies at attractive valuations. 

Investment Thesis

 The Rotunda Fundund employs a two-step process to select and evaluate opportunities: a threshold step (size and information availability) and an investment evaluation step (ESG, industry, and financial evaluation). 

The threshold step requires (i) market capitalization of $500 million and above and (ii) sufficient disclosure of relevant sustainability-related data.  It is expected that companies reporting under the Carbon Disclosure Project, or a similar industry-standard report, will fulfill this threshold of required disclosure.  Alternatively, companies that publish a corporate sustainability report and/or are required to report data to the US Environmental Protection Agency, such as the chemical and utility industries, will also meet the threshold criteria. 

The companies that meet the requirements in the threshold step will then be analyzed in a three-part investment evaluation step.  This investment evaluation step seeks companies with:

  1. Best-in-class ESG metrics relative to peer companies and industry best practices.
  2. Industry or industries served, and position within those industries, that is conducive to long-term financial strength.
  3. Superior fundamentals, both qualitative and quantitative/valuation, which indicate the potential for favorable risk-adjusted returns.

 

Portfolio Managers Bio

Rohan Poojara — Senior Portfolio Manager

Rohan graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2008. Before starting his MBA at Darden he worked as an investment banking analyst at Lincoln International in Chicago and an economic policy researcher at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a Washington DC based think-tank. At AEI, Rohan worked for multiple economists (including Vincent Reinhart, the current Chief U.S. Economist at Morgan Stanley) focusing on monetary and fiscal policy. Rohan has passed all three levels of the CFA exam and spent the summer after his first year at Darden as an investor at J.P. Morgan in New York.

Reese Blackwell — Portfolio Manager

Reese graduated summa cum laude from Presbyterian College in 2009 with a major in business administration focused in accounting. After Presbyterian, Reese spent three years in Washington, DC working for Sphere Consulting, a public affairs consulting firm. At Sphere, Reese helped financial services clients navigate Dodd-Frank and other regulatory frameworks. He interned with Deutsche Bank during the summer after his first year at Darden.

Herman Schroeder — Portfolio Manager

Herman graduated from Edinburgh University in 2005 with a Master’s degree in Economics and Accounting. After graduation, he worked at a hedge fund, UBS, Morgan Stanley and KPMG. He is ICAEW Charted Accountant and has obtained the CFA designation. Following his first year at Darden, Herman worked at UBS for the summer.

Garrett Wilson — Portfolio Manager

Garrett Wilson received a degree in Government from Georgetown University. Prior to Darden, he worked for 5 years in the Global Markets Division at Bank of America as an Institutional FX Sales Associate. Following his first year at Darden, Garrett spent the summer at DBL Investors, a venture capital firm that invests in companies that can deliver top-tier financial returns and enable social and environmental benefits.

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