Mark Dampier: A fund that trawls the world for great brands

The Anaylst

Warren Buffett was once quoted as saying: "Stocks are simple. All you do is buy shares in a great business for less than the business is intrinsically worth, with a manager of the highest integrity and ability. Then you own those shares forever."

This simple approach is at the heart of Nick Train's new Lindsell Train Global Equity Fund. Younger readers may not be familiar with Mr Train, but he spent 17 years at GT (now part of Invesco) and was responsible for some superb performance with GT Income Fund in the 80s and 90s. After a spell at M&G he set up Lindsell Train with Michael Lindsell, his former colleague at GT, in 2000.

Lindsell Train's central philosophy is to run their clients' money as they would run their own, and to take the long-term view on investment performance – as well as the development of their business.

Mr Train's long-held belief is that investors persistently get overexcited by short-term performance and ignore the sustainability of returns over time. Unilever is a great illustration of a stock regarded by most investors as dull and boring. Yet in 1990, Unilever's annual dividend was 9.5p; now it is 71.5p, an appreciation of 10.6 per cent per annum. Naturally this has propelled the share price too, up more than fivefold over the period, and ahead of the market as a whole.

In this global fund Nick Train focuses on finding shares in durable businesses like Unilever, which can steadily increase earnings over time while being conservatively financed. Clearly it is not possible to consider every possible stock from around the world in detail, but he cuts down the field quite rapidly by knowing exactly what he is looking for: firms that own great brands and have significant barriers to entry, meaning they are resilient to change.

Of the 1,700 companies in their global universe, Nick Train considers just 180 of them to be truly great companies. These are predominantly found in particular industries such as software, asset management, household services, beverages, publishing and packaged food. Around half of these are US companies, with the UK, Europe and Japan producing around 30 each. Virtually none are in emerging markets.

One example is Heineken, which founded its first brewery in 1873. Beer is a very durable business – no doubt generations to come will be keen on it in one form or another. It is unusual to have a product with that type of longevity built in, and for an investor it is most attractive.

Intriguingly, Mr Train also has a particular interest in sports franchises, and was an early investor in Manchester United shares. Indeed, I suspect he was somewhat miffed when they were taken over. He still owns Celtic in one of his existing funds, though. While the club is only marginally profitable, it attracts worldwide audiences, and for a global brand it is lowly valued, so he believes there is potential.

A further cornerstone of the Lindsell Train philosophy is to run a concentrated portfolio representing their very best ideas. Quite simply they do not wish to water down their potential returns, and to this end the portfolio will contain just 20 to 25 stocks. The fund is the antithesis of today's fast-moving investment world of impatient investors buying and selling at every moment and computerised trades lasting mere fractions of a second. Instead it will be true to the Warren Buffett principles of holding shares for the very long-term with little turnover.

I have known Mr Train for over 20 years. As well as being a fund manager of great talent, he is an enlightened speaker – if you ever have a chance to see him, do take it. His investment approach might seem unexciting, but to my mind this is exactly the reason to own the fund. In a world of uncertainty the unglamorous can provide great opportunity. Many large, global businesses are presently unfashionable and good value, which should ultimately benefit investors as they continue to grow their profits. I think investors should consider following Nick Train's lead and tuck the fund away for the long term.

Mark Dampier is head of research at Hargreaves Lansdown, the asset manager, financial adviser and stockbroker. For more details about the funds included in this column, visit

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business


    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

    Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

    £300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

    (Junior) IT Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Analyst

    £28000 - £32000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly ...

    Finance Officer

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education are seeking a Fi...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice