The Analyst: London doesn't have all the top teams

If your image of an investment manager is a fellow in the City of London wearing a public-school tie and bowler hat and carrying a brolly, then think again. These days, quite a few of them dress casually. And some of the best are not even based in the capital.

What matters is that an investment manager focuses on what is really important: successfully managing money for investors. If anything is allowed to get in the way of that – for example, the hustle and bustle and hassle of central London – then it is sacrificed.

The superb investment companies located outside London include Invesco Perpetual, for whom the highly regarded Neil Woodford manages more than £16bn from their Henley-on-Thames offices. Another is the exceptional team of UK specialists working for Rensburg, based in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

Rensburg does not advertise a great deal so it might be an unfamiliar name, but the firm has just as much knowledge and talent as their better-known peers. The UK team comprises Mark Hall, Paul Spencer, Stuart Sharp and Colin Morton. I have often said that operating small teams with short lines of communication is the best way to manage money. I was therefore intrigued when Rensburg launched a new fund last year – the Rensburg UK Managers' Focus Trust – that pools the knowledge of these four quality managers.

Each manager is responsible for a quarter of the portfolio and is tasked with selecting only their best ideas. The portfolio is designed to be well diversified across the market because each manager is an expert in a different area.

Colin Morton and Stuart Sharp invest in large and small companies respectively, while Paul Spencer specialises in the medium-sized firms of the FTSE 250 Index. The final component of the fund is run by Mark Hall, who is free to choose any stock from the UK market; he is ideally suited to this role as he has one of the best track records of any manager in the country.

This structure results in a focused portfolio of around 50 stocks. The managers work closely together to help keep the portfolio balanced. For example, if they were all extremely bullish on mining stocks, they would decide how to divide up the opportunities between them. This helps to ensure that the portfolio doesn't become too biased towards a narrow range of sectors, which would only add to the risk and volatility of the fund.

The largest sector positions at present are 12.21 per cent in support services, 8 per cent in real estate and 6.36 per cent in air and defence. In terms of individual stocks, the biggest holdings are Cobham (defence) at just under 3 per cent, Southern Cross (care homes) at 2.7 per cent and GlaxoSmithKline (pharmaceuticals) at 2.6 per cent. You can see, therefore, that no single stock or sector will have a massive impact on the performance of the fund.

The structure of the fund means that it is likely to have a slight natural bias towards small and medium-sized companies. The reason for this is that, because of the sheer volume of companies in those areas, plus the fact that they get less coverage from analysts, Mark Hall is more likely to be able to find anomalies and undervalued companies.

In my opinion, Stuart Sharp has done a particularly good job during the fund's first year; his stock ideas have really helped to boost the fund's performance. He doesn't pay much attention to market timing (indeed, none of the four managers does), but he did start to sell many of his most successful holdings in July when they reached his price targets. This meant that by the end of July his part of the portfolio had almost 17 per cent in cash (the fund as a whole had 11 per cent in cash), which provided some support as markets fell during August.

In conclusion, what you get with this fund is an extremely talented team of managers who have bags of common sense, who will meet any problems head on, and will come to sensible decisions. The managers have an incentive to perform because they have their own money in the fund, and also because they are dedicated professionals who want to do the best job possible for their clients.

I fully expect the team and the fund to go from strength to strength. If you are looking for a high quality UK fund that invests across the market, then this is one fund that merits close attention.

Mark Dampier is the head of research at Hargreaves Lansdown, the asset manager, financial adviser and stockbroker. For more information about the funds included in this column, visit www.h-l.co.uk/independent

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before