Money may not grow on trees but for leading investment manager, Fortress Fund Managers (FFM) there are distinct parallels between how money and trees grow.
This was demonstrated recently when an enthusiastic team from Fortress planted 100 trees along the Constant Plantation section of the Barbados Trailway Project as an integral part of its 25th anniversary celebrations. The trailway is a paved pathway for pedestrians, runners and cyclists on lands of the former Barbados Railway. Fortress’ contribution of $10,000 to the project was facilitated through its long-standing relationship with the Barbados Community Foundation.
FFM Investment Director and founder, Roger Cave was part of the tree planting team. He emphasised the connection between the tree planting and Fortress’ values. “Choosing to plant trees was an ideal fit for our legacy as one of the ways to mark our 25th anniversary. To contribute and give back to society and support such a worthy and exciting project which in time will benefit our island and its biodiversity for many years to come is important to us,” he said.
“Sound investing principles require time, patience and careful, expert attention. The companies where our funds are invested can earn and keep growing over many years, just like healthy trees,” the investment director continued.
Fortress launched its first fund, the flagship Caribbean Growth Fund, in 1996. And at the end of the last financial year in 2021 it had gained 26.4%, achieving its “second-best yearly result ever, as asset prices recovered from very low levels during 2020,” Cave reminded.
Another one of those taking part in the anniversary activity was Rashada Lopez, investment analyst. “We were looking for ways that we could assist in doing something positive and constructive and combine it with an event outside of the office which together resulted in an enjoyable and fun team building exercise,” she said.
While Lopez is one of the more recent additions to Fortress, joining during the COVID-19 Pandemic, she’s a solid part of the team. “When I think of Fortress, the word cohesive comes to mind. The team is very cohesive. And what makes the team special is that everyone works in a synergistic way.”
Pensions Director, Rene Delmas noted that “Planting of trees now would only yield benefits many years into the future. This in many ways is similar to saving and investing now in planning to secure your retirement. It is the positive actions of today that are required to secure our financial future and the trailway project has the potential, when completed, to support the exercise, health and recreation of future generations but it needs the action and support of us ’today‘ to make that a reality.”
When asked about the similarities between planting trees and investing, the pensions director said: “We think of ourselves as nurturing the financial capital of our clients and helping them to reach a level of financial security often over decades, which is something very long term. Like the growth of trees, it’s not a fast process.”
Working in small groups along the Barbados Trailway to expedite the process, Fortress planted a variety of trees including golden apple, hog plum, mahogany, breadfruit and bay leaf trees in over an hour and a half.
The Barbados Trailway is a project of the Future Centre Trust and its chairman, Barney Gibbs lauded Fortress’ contribution. “We are paving and landscaping the Barbados Trailway, one metre at a time, and one tree at a time. When corporate citizens like Fortress show up with their financial and human resources, the process accelerates. If this inspires others, Bajans and visitors will soon have the 16 km multipurpose recreational trail they want, need and deserve.”
Fortress Fund Managers manages over Bds $800 million in assets across 12 funds with investments in regional, US, international and emerging markets.