The four pillars of the Cordis Global Medical Technology Fund

Pillar one:
Healthcare earnings resiliency
Pillar two:
Momentum of MedTech
Pillar three:
Investment insights
Pillar four:
Responsible investing
✓ Growth greater than GDP✓ Device-based trend✓ Framework for the Fund✓ Investing with purpose
✓ Australians underweight in sector✓ New paradigm in treatment✓ Finding meaningful MedTech✓ Highly sustainable fund
✓ Earnings are not cyclical✓ The power of patents✓ Stock selection with specialists✓ Invested in improving lives
✓ Explosion of chronic disease✓ Optimising cost and efficiency✓ Process for portfolio inclusion✓ Aligned with United Nations

Pillar one: Healthcare earnings resiliency 

Growth greater than GDP

Purely from a financial perspective, healthcare is a huge sector growing faster than GDP in virtually every market in the world. It consumes 10 percent of GDP in OECD markets and is close to double that in the United States. Healthcare spending is reaching twice the growth level of GDP in high-income countries; it is already the highest contributor to GDP in the US, and close to the highest in most OECD countries. In fact, between 2000 and 2019, health spending grew faster than GDP in the 29 high-income countries. Aside from being essential to human health, the sector has proven over many years that it delivers a resilient earnings growth profile, largely because of the sustained underlying demand in any economic environment combined with favourable competitive landscapes due to wide economic moats surrounding an intensely regulated industry. 

Australians underweight in sector

Healthcare is a priority for every person on the planet. The sector is huge and has tailwinds that drive continued growth, yet Australian investor portfolios are notoriously underweight in healthcare stocks and funds. Global healthcare tailwinds are unquestionable. Demographics are a significant factor with ageing populations and an expanding middle class in developing parts of the world pushing demand for treatments that developed nations take for granted today. As economies expand and the middle class grows, the healthcare sector is growing too. Government policy is another significant tailwind with healthcare a political priority worldwide. Maximising human welfare is a necessity in both democratic and authoritarian governments, driven by the expectations of the growing and ageing middle class. The number of people aged over 60 is expected to double by 2050 and the over-80s population is expected to treble; this will be the single most important driver of healthcare expenditure. Note that those aged over 65 consume three times the average healthcare of those under 65. 

Earnings are not cyclical

Healthcare enjoys earnings resilience amidst global share market volatility due to the demand driven by ageing populations, growing middle class and increased accessibility and favourable competitive landscapes. While stocks, indices and markets will bounce up and down, healthcare earnings – both historic and prospective – remain strong and positive due to underlying demand and the pricing power of necessary treatments with a low threat of substitutes. Government healthcare spending drives growth regardless of any downturn in the economy. This was evident during the GFC (and confirmed by the World Health Organisation); while government stimulus in the 29 high income countries increased dramatically to address the GFC, healthcare expenditure continued to grow. We are seeing a secular shift in global markets and economies after 40 years of falling bond yields to unprecedentedly low levels. This, coupled with the GFC stimulus have led to very easy monetary conditions, and high liquidity. That inflated bubble – where capital, credit and earnings weren’t hard to come by – seems to have come to an abrupt check. Healthcare is one sector immune to this secular shift. 

Explosion of chronic disease

Healthcare companies solving and treating chronic and life threatening illnesses are a particularly strong asset class. The prevalence of chronic disease (think Alzheimer’s, arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease) has exploded, much of it due to lifestyle choices. Governments internationally are focussed on addressing the increase of chronic illness through cost effective treatments. Healthcare companies tackling these problems have underlying earnings that are resilient because the demand doesn’t go away, isn’t discretionary and can’t be deferred or substituted. Thus, healthcare consumption spending is realised no matter the market cycle; the overwhelming majority of these treatments are underwritten either by government programs or by insurers, and the consumption pattern is certain.

Pillar two: Momentum of MedTech 

Trend towards device-based treatment 

The healthcare sector is at an inflection point as the treatment of chronic illness moves toward medical technology (device-based treatment) and away from pharmacology (drug-based treatment) and biotechnology. Pharmaceutical treatments, which excelled through Covid, have proven to be enormously expensive to produce, readily superseded, and obsolete with new variants. Meanwhile, chronic disease is largely consistent. This means the MedTech innovations being developed have a ready market with a long runway of growth.

New paradigm in medical treatment

Over the past 20 years, we have seen a revolution in medical technology delivering treatments that are safer, more effective, and ultimately cheaper for those who foot the bill (insurers and governments). This transformation is no different to what has been experienced in telecommunications and automotive industries with an insurgence of technology; it is just delayed by the complex nature of medical device development and high regulatory burden or bringing a medical device to market (think design, trial, manufacture, implant, iterate, improve, implant, repeat). The healthcare industry shall experience a decade-plus of technological advancements and adoption due to the clinical trial requirements that are essential to prove the efficacy of new devices. Analysis shows there is a consistent time lag between the market’s appreciation of new medical technology and the realisation of this in company valuations, providing an opportunity to capitalise on these inefficiencies. 

The power of patents

In healthcare innovation, it takes an incredibly disruptive – or revolutionary – product to supersede incumbent medical technology. At a time when technology and innovation has become incredibly disruptive across all sectors, companies are perpetually vulnerable to new innovations superseding their products. Healthcare is one sector where patents and regulatory requirements provide a certainty of momentum that works in favour of investors. The Cordis Global Medical Technology Fund is a portfolio of companies protected by patents and subject to the highest regulatory barriers to entry. 

Optimising cost and efficiency

MedTech seeks to deliver three universal healthcare needs: improve patient outcomes, expand access, and optimise costs and efficiencies. Innovations that optimise efficiencies or make procedures a lot simpler to perform by saving time and reducing complexity are also typically easier to standardise and implement, improving access for patients. When more clinicians are able to complete more treatments in a shorter period, you’re effectively doubling, tripling and quadrupling the number of patients who have access to that treatment in a day. These innovations commonly provide faster recovery times for patients. These MedTech treatments have also proven to be cheaper for the payor over the lifetime of the patient, due to the shorter operation and recovery times, and lower rates of retreatment required. 

Pillar three: Investment insights

Framework for the Fund

Cordis Asset Management specialises in the MedTech market through the foresight of its founders, Professor Michael Vallely, a cardiothoracic surgeon, and Michael Cartmill, his medical engineer colleague. Through this foundation, Cordis developed a differentiated investment process that leverages a unique Medical Advisory Panel and Medical Device Industry Specialists consisting of leading global physicians, academic researchers, medical device experts and healthcare system executives. The investment team uses the insights of these experts to gain clarity on the long-term outlook of treatment paradigms, and research the prospect of commercial success for new technology in the medical device space. As an integral part of the team and investment process, Cordis’ medical advisory panel and network  are an inimitable and unique competitive advantage when assessing medical technology. 

Finding meaningful MedTech

When selecting stocks to invest in, Cordis starts with an analysis of the medical technology market, looking at both the financial components and the quality of the innovation. Standard practice for other funds investing in MedTech is to review broker research and company reports. At Cordis, information is gathered from directly from the coalface, from physicians and industry experts who often but not always contribute data to the reports and journals that other fund managers rely on. This is a central tool for the Fund’s analysts to build the portfolio; it provides the agility to get into and out of stocks earlier, without the delay of awaiting published data.

Stock selection with specialists

Cordis balances financial analytics of equity market specialists with firsthand MedTech and clinician experience. The medical advisory panel is a collection of learned professionals who are actively involved in medical innovations and have daily exposure to technologies that are being used in treatments today. They advise the Fund about treatments that are insufficient, ineffective, costly or time consuming and provide guidance on the alternative devices, treatments and therapies being trialled. Many MedTech ETFs and funds rely on secondhand insights to construct their portfolio. Cordis has rare firsthand insight through the medical advisory panel, elevating the quality of stock selection.

Process for portfolio inclusion

Cordis will consider a MedTech opportunity as a result of the collective intelligence from their cohort of medical specialists, complemented by a financial analysis of the company. The medical advisory panel will assess if the technology can be easily adopted by the healthcare sector; if it will fit the infrastructure or investment focus of the current hospital system, and the impact of replacing the procedure that is currently performed with the new technology. What fund managers can’t easily determine without specialist medical knowledge is that, while an idea could supersede a current technology, its deployability is a crucial factor. If the expense of implementation, retraining the workforce and removing existing medical infrastructure is too great, it’s possible that innovation will never succeed. Once a technology or treatment is endorsed by the medical advisory panel, Cordis’ investment team will use these data to augment analysis of the financials, constructing a valuation model and ‘scorecard’ of the attractiveness of a potential investment. This scorecard incorporates financial data, management quality, MAP assessment and perhaps most importantly valuation. Cordis understands that even a company with great technology that is beloved by the end users and indeed with impeccable financials may not represent an attractive investment due to valuation issues. 

Pillar four: Responsible investing

Investing with purpose

Through MedTech innovations, Cordis’ investors are having a positive long-term impact on society whilst enjoying the rewards of a sector that has an enormous runway of growth ahead of it. Every decision the Fund makes involves sustainability and responsible investment practices.

Highly sustainable fund

As a small firm, Cordis has control over the way it does business. The philosophy is underpinned by a commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goals and continuous improvement in ESG. A respected sustainability analysis company, Sustainable Platform, rates Cordis as one of the most sustainable funds in Australia. Sustainable Platform states that Cordis is one of the highest-rated funds that they’ve assessed on sustainability, attributing 89% of all dollars invested in Cordis to making a contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The analysis further suggests there is zero chance of greenwashing risk amongst any of the companies held, mitigating much of the risk of exposure to companies with poor ESG practices allowing investors an opportunity to align their investments with their values.

Invested in improving lives

As part of its commitment to aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Cordis is focused on investing in companies that are working to improve and extend lives. With healthcare as its only focus, and MedTech being the niche that they invest in, the Cordis team and its investors are contributing to a future of better healthcare. The portfolio of companies are focused on advancing healthcare equity and expanding access to lifesaving products and therapies. 

Aligned with United Nations

Cordis Asset Management is proud to be aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals under the health and wellness pillar. Their portfolio of companies contribute directly to prolonging and improving life, and align strongly with: 

  • target 3.b; to support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries. To provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use the full provisions in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all; 
  • and 3.d; strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks.
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Investment Committee Former MD of Medtronic in ANZ

Tim is an international business leader with 30 years of diversified experience as a member of executive leadership teams at two global MedTech conglomerates, Medtronic and Boston Scientific. He has a proven track record of delivering results, substantially increasing revenues and operating profit across Australia & New Zealand, the Asia Pacific region and globally.

Cardiac Electrophysiologist, Ohio, USA

Dr Toshimasa Okabe is originally from Japan where he obtained his medical degree from University of Tokyo in 2006. He then completed his internal medicine residency and cardiology fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. During his time at Thomas Jefferson University, he was the recipient of several awards, including the best teaching resident and the best teaching fellow award. Dr Okabe also received a master of science degree in clinical investigation from Thomas Jefferson University in 2014. He went on to complete his cardiac electrophysiology fellowship at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. Dr Okabe joined the faculty at the Ohio State University in 2016, and is currently Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine. He is American Board of Internal Medicine certified in Cardiovascular Disease and Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology. Dr Okabe has authored or co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, and 4 book chapters, and has presented at numerous national and international meetings.

Dr Okabe’s areas of special interest are complex catheter ablation of various arrhythmias, ablation of epicardial ventricular tachycardia, fluoroscopy reduction techniques, and novel leadless pacing technologies.

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Marketing Coordinator

Melissa’s experience in marketing and communication over the past 5 years expands over the Finance, Wellness and Arts industries, working in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Director of Operations

Rudi is the Founder and Managing Director for Paradigm Global Solutions, which designs innovative technology and administrative solutions for financial services. He is also a co-founder and joint-CEO for Latus Solutions. Prior to this, he acted as a director and Chief Technology Officer for Equinox and Tradestream in South Africa.

General Counsel and Company Secretary 

Megan has over 30 years of legal experience and is currently a legal contractor for AMP Australia. Prior to AMP, she acted as legal counsel for Zurich Financial Services Australia and Macquarie Group for twenty years, across various financial services businesses. Formerly, she has practised as a tax lawyer for KPMG and Touche Ross.

Andrew Inwood is the founder of the CoreData Group and brings with him deep knowledge of the financial services industry. CoreData is a financial services research and consulting business which owns CoreData and CoreData Research and has operations in Australia, the UK, the USA and the Philippines. He focuses on the area of Behavioural Economics, with a particular interest in the process of trust transfer between individuals and corporations.

Non Executive Director and Director of Marketing and Distribution 

Thomas has over 25 years’ experience in Wealth Management and Asset Management, at Bankers Trust, Merrill Lynch, Bell Potter and Next Financial before Co-founding Mason Stevens in 2011. As Managing Director of Mason Stevens, Thomas worked across the Asset Management and Wealth Management business and was responsible for driving its distribution into the advisory channels. In 2019, he became Co-Chief Investment Officer. Over the last 2 decades he has advised Family Office, HNW clients and worked closely with Advisory groups on managing investments across all asset classes. He currently is the Chair of Investment Committee for Norwest Asset Management, and is a director of private investment advisory firm Tenix Capital.

Non Executive Director, Investment Committee

Stephen has 30 years’ experience in leadership roles across globally recognised blue-chip investment, superannuation and financial services companies at CEO or Senior Executive level. He is currently Chairman of Growth Farms Ltd, a Non-Executive Director of AMP Superannuation Limited and Longreach Wealth Pty Ltd, a Member of the Supervisory Board of Pyrolyx AG, Germany and a Member of the Leadership Council of Social Ventures Australia. He was formerly CEO of Mercer Investments Asia Pacific and Russell Investment Consulting in Australia. Stephen brings a wealth of experience in investment consulting and asset management to our Board given his significant senior executive and non-executive board experience across Asia Pacific. Stephen has proven track record of successfully leading people and organisations through period of exceptional growth and change.

Investment Committee

Simon has over 40 years’ experience in portfolio, wealth and investment management in Sydney, London and Chicago with ANZ, Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan and Mercantile House. He is a former Portfolio Manager for ANZ Optimix and Head of Alternative Investments for ANZ Wealth. Simon is currently a Trustee at the Centenary Foundation for Medical Research at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. He is a former Managing Director of Credit Suisse, Head of Alternative Investments for Asset Management, Co-Head of the European Pension Advisory and Structuring Group, Co-Head of Fund-Linked (Hedge Fund) Products, Global Head of Commodity Marketing and former Director of Advice for Life Pty Ltd, Capricorn Financial Advisors Pty Ltd, Financial Lifestyle Solutions, the London Gold Fixing and on the Markets Committee of the UK National Association of Pension Funds Investment Council. 

Executive Director and Chairman of Investment Committee

Donal has over 35 years of experience in the medical device/healthcare sector – initially as a senior executive in the global cardiovascular and medical devices industries and more recently as a Non-Executive Director. He was global President for Cordis Cardiology, a division of Johnson & Johnson’s Cordis Corporation. He was previously the European President of the Cardiovascular Group of Baxter Healthcare, now Edwards Lifesciences and formerly a director of Cochlear. Donal is currently on the Board of Directors of several Healthcare and Medical Device companies, including Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Mesoblast and NIB Health Funds.

Intensive Care, Device VC Brisbane

John is a medical disruptor, who started Australia’s largest multi-disciplinary research group - Critical Care Research Group - based in the country’s largest cardiothoracic centre in the region, The Prince Charles Hospital. He has built a team of more than 80 leading clinicians, engineers, scientists and economists with global links – connected to all of the major cardiothoracic hospitals across Queensland, Australia, and the world. He has been a serial entrepreneur working with leaders in medicine, engineering, science and industry in a truly global network of mature collaborations. He simultaneously runs Australia’s first ever international Centre for Research Excellence in Bionic Hearts and Lungs. Professor Fraser has published over 400 peer-reviewed publications (including NEJM, Circulation, Lancet, AJRCCM, JACC) and has earned in excess of $41 Million AUD in competitive grants.

Cardiovascular Surgery, Texas

Mike is a cardiovascular surgeon and the Director of the Cardiovascular Service Line at Baylor Scott & White Health System, Chairman of the Board of Baylor Scott & White Research Institute in Dallas, Texas and co-chair of the Heart Valve Collaboratory. He has been in practice since 1982 and performed thousands of cardiac surgeries, of which well over 4,000 have involved heart valve procedures. He is one of the key global figures at the forefront of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), having been a pioneer since the early days of this life-changing procedure. Michael has also authored or co-authored over 750 publications in peer-reviewed journals. He sat on the Board of the American College of Cardiology Foundation from 2015-2019 and has previously served as President of the Society for Thoracic Surgeons, Thoracic Surgery Foundation for Research and Education, Southern Thoracic Surgical Association and the International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery.

Cardiologist, Sydney

David is an experienced Advisor and Investor in the Medical Devices area. He is the Founder of Corvia Inc (a Boston based cardiac devices company) and the Founder and Chief Medical Officer of the Brain Protection Company. He is a former University Medallist in Medicine from the University of Sydney, Rhodes Scholar and since 2014, has been an Officer of the Order of Australia. He has been involved in supporting and advising many successful MedTech companies, in Australia and the USA, over the last 20 years. David is Professor of Cardiology and Head of the Discipline of Cardiology at The University of Sydney and an Academic Cardiologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. In addition to these roles, David is also the Clinical Director of the Heart Research Institute and serves on the Board of Directors of Heart Kids Australia. He has been a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science since 2006 and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science since 2018. David sits on the Editorial Boards of many of the world’s leading Cardiology Journals, including the European Heart Journal, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Heart. He has published over 400 papers, with career citations of over 60,000 and an H-index of over 100. In recognition of this, he was awarded the inaugural Charles Blackburn Medal from the University of Sydney in 2019, for outstanding Clinical Research.

Founder and Chairman of the Medical Advisory Panel

Michael is one of the founding partners of Cordis Asset Management. He is currently a Professor of Surgery & Surgical Director of Structural Heart at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Michael has a special interest in elderly and high-risk patients, anaortic off-pump coronary bypass surgery, transcatheter and open-heart valve surgery, minimally invasive heart & lung surgery, and electrophysiological device implants (e.g. pacemakers, defibrillators, and CRT). He has authored or co-authored more than 130 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals, multiple book chapters and has been active in international clinical trials and first-in-man procedures and device trials. Professor Vallely is an Industry Advisor with the McKinsey and a consultant to Medtronic and other medical technology firms.

Chief Investment Officer

James formerly the Chief Investment Officer at U Ethical Investors, having worked for over 20 years in global equities investing. He has been involved at all levels of equities analysis, with a proven track record of consistently strong investment performance over rolling three year periods. James brings a wealth of experience in asset management to our team given his significant skill set.

Medical Device Specialist

Michael is an active clinical engineer for medical device start-ups and a Founder and shareholder of Cordis. Michael has 10 years of global industry experience in Healthcare Informatics and Cardiovascular Device Technology. His industry experiences span senior management and technical roles with major medical technology companies, giving him invaluable insight into the companies we concern ourselves with.

Senior Equity Analyst

Jacob joined Cordis at its inception as an equity analyst, quickly becoming an instrumental part of the portfolio construction process. He has 10 years of experience analysing companies and as a stockbroker, after beginning his career in the Equity Team at Deutsche Bank in Sydney, where he covered both domestic and international Healthcare companies as a part of the local sales team. Jacob has a Bachelor of Commerce and Engineering with Honours from the University of Sydney and is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).