Experience and drive that counts

James Salter is the founder of Zennor Asset Management, a dedicated Japanese Fund Manager that takes a long-term approach to investment.

James’s passion for the stock market and all things Japanese has defined his career success. He began trading whilst at university and after graduating decided to study Japan Area Studies at The School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

James will be joined in September 2020 by David Mitchinson who has over 20 years experience in the Japanese market; having worked at Framlington, JP Morgan and most recently at TT International Asset Management.

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Start of a successful career in asset management

After joining Foreign and Colonial in 1989 and training under Ian Wright, founder of Morant Wright, James was seconded to Tokyo as a small cap analyst working with the economic team at Long Term Credit Bank.

James then joined Martin Currie in Edinburgh. Working as number two to Michael Thomas, together they built an enviable track record on the Martin Currie Japan Unit Trust, starting with £100m and growing it to £2bn. Two years running they won Fund Manager of the Year in Japan.

Back in London, James Salter became Lead Manager on the Schroder Japan Growth Fund. Badly managed, James completely restructured the Fund turning it from being one of the worst performers into the top performing trust in its sector all within the space of 2 years. It also won multiple awards.

The future: Zennor Asset Management

James’s drive and ambition to be one of the best fund managers has inspired him to found Zennor Asset Management. With over 30 years’ experience in managing Japanese Equities and having learnt from the issues faced by the Polar Japan Fund, he is creating a business that caps the amount of money it can manage in Japan.

Zennor has access to a huge personal database of mid and small companies visited over the last 30 years, giving Zennor the expertise, knowledge and passion to deliver real value to investors. Over the next 12 months, the Zennor team is expected to triple in size.

When he’s not managing money for his clients, James can be found swimming the channel supporting his charities or spending time with his family.

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Japanese equities at Polar Capital

In 1999 James set up The Bonfield Japan Fund and on the first day raised $35m. This then merged into Polar Capital PLC and became the Polar Japan Fund. As founding partner at Polar Capital, he ran the strategy for the next 18 years ensuring it was one of the top performing Japan Funds in the country. In 2015, the Fund suffered poor performance, partly because of a massive shift away from value investing and partly because the fund got too big.

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