Meet the manager: Andrew Bell

Chief Executive Officer, Witan Investment Trust.

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If you weren’t a fund manager, what job would you do?

  • I think I’d enjoy being a TV interviewer. After graduating I was dead keen on becoming a politician but on closer acquaintance the idea congealed. I am older and wiser now, which probably disqualifies me.


What was the proudest moment of your career?

  • Using the years of near-zero interest rates to fix Witan’s long-term debt for more than 25 years at below 3% is a legacy that I hope will reward shareholders for many years after I have gone (as I shall probably have retired by the time the final piece is repaid in 2054).


What was the most difficult moment of your career and why?

  • The onset of the pandemic; Witan had just changed its benchmark to be less UK-centric and more global but our plan for a gradual portfolio rebalancing was upended by lockdowns turbo-charging the technology sector and trashing almost everything else. We ended up chasing the outperforming US as we built up our weighting and were badly left behind. I publicly apologised to shareholders at the time, which was humbling (though good for the soul), and thankfully May 2020 was the low point.

What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?

  • Spend more while you are young and spend more time with your children while they are young.

“Spend more while you are young and spend more time with your children while they are young.”

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Away from the workplace, how do you spend your time? Is there a particular hobby you enjoy, or something that is a staple of your weekends?

  • I love skiing and cycling, both things you can do with dodgy ankles (I had club feet as a child). Appreciating wine is another absorbing hobby.


Tell us about the last book you read or the last podcast you listened to?

  • Middlemarch (again). The denouement in the library is an epic romantic moment; we could all do with being less of a Casaubon and more of a Ladislaw.


Where was the last place you went on holiday and why?

  • The Carolinas and New Orleans – a trip cancelled in 2020 due to lockdowns. I love America in all its variety, with the added motivation that my daughter in law comes from the Tar Heel state.


In your personal life, what would you like to achieve in the next 12 months?

  • To build a relationship with my newly minted grandson.