David Royal, chief investment officer at Thrivent, reflects on a major accomplishment
We’re delighted to announce that the Thrivent Mid Cap Stock Fund has been honored with two prestigious Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards in 2021.
The Lipper award recognizes the exceptional results we've delivered for our clients and our shareholders as the investment adviser to the fund. To determine winners, Refinitiv considered 245 very competitive funds in the five-year performance period and 170 funds in the 10-year period.
We spoke with David Royal, chief investment officer at Thrivent, to discuss his thoughts about the award and how Thrivent’s long-term investment view helped lead to its success.
The Lipper award recognizes the exceptional results we've delivered for our clients and our shareholders. So, to be the number-one performing fund on a risk-adjusted basis is what we aspire to do as an asset manager.
Q: How does the Thrivent team of asset managers stand apart from competition?
A: One thing that pervades our DNA is taking a long-term investment view. A lot of firms say that, but we really mean it, live it, and exemplify it.
Something that sets us apart is simply the people. We've put together a fantastic team that follows a bottom-up fundamental research approach by picking great stocks from companies we believe in. We have a strong team of long-tenured analysts, and that helps drive continuity. Our process certainly evolves but there is a consistency and learning over time that allows us to find the types of companies we believe will provide strong returns.
We’re also focused on being nimble based on where we are in the economic cycle. Since the market’s bottom last March, we have leaned into some more economically sensitive cyclical companies. We don’t generally make big bets by sector or industry, but we’re always cognizant of the macroeconomic backdrop and look to overweight companies that will benefit in the current economic environment.
It’s important to have a disciplined and cohesive approach that everyone on the team is familiar with. We have a strong field force of 2,300 financial professionals—they know us, they believe in us, they’ve seen our ability to make good long-term investment decisions.
We are not short-term traders; we tend to have typically lower portfolio turnover, run high conviction portfolios, and look for non-consensus picks. We don't follow the crowd—we're looking for particular insights that will set us apart from our competitors.
Having professional guidance, whether it's through a mutual fund portfolio manager or through your financial professional, can absolutely help you navigate, in an unemotional way, the market ups and downs.
Q: How did the team keep up momentum during a pandemic?
A: It's been a challenging year, working remotely. We had a bit of a head start in that we have always had some of our equity portfolio managers in multiple locations. And I think the team really stepped it up.
Everyone had to learn to work differently from home. I would absolutely credit our investment operations team, as well, for facilitating and having a seamless process for our research systems, portfolio analysis, and trading. Again, it's really the dedication of the team—they work incredibly hard on behalf of our clients.
Q: Let's talk about the market volatility of the past year. What should investors be thinking about as they consider how to navigate an ever-changing market?
A: Having professional guidance, whether it's through a mutual fund portfolio manager or through your financial professional, can absolutely help you navigate, in an unemotional way, the market ups and downs.
I was pleased with our performance and how we held up last March, which was a very volatile period of market declines, and the way we participated in market recovery on the upside. We did reposition our portfolios in a pretty meaningful way. It can be hard to do if you’re managing your own investments, but a dispassionate portfolio manager taking an objective view and acting on your behalf can be an immense help—and ever more so during periods of market volatility.
At Thrivent, we help investors prepare for a more secure future. Our portfolio managers actively track performance, trends and investment objectives. It's all part of our investment philosophy that puts performance first, understanding what actions to take next and what that means for clients.
Remember to keep your overall long-term financial objectives in mind despite market fluctuations. If you have concerns about your investment portfolio or want to talk to a financial professional about your overall financial goals,
Learn more about investing with Thrivent Mutual Funds at