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Fund managers choose career safety – loading risk onto investors

Popularity of bonds that offer below-inflation returns is a symptom of career risk aversion, JOHCM UK Opportunities manager John Wood says.

 

At the end of June GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) remained the fund's largest position, (4.2% of the portfolio) followed by catering firm Compass (CPG.L) and consumer goods giant Unilever (ULVR.L) (3.8% each).

Both Imperial Tobacco (IMT.L) and British American Tobacco (BATS.L) are also in the top 10, along with media group Reed Elsevier (REL.L) and retailer Next (NXT.L).

Wood increased the fund’s cash from 4.4% at start of the year to peak at 15% in April. It has stayed at relatively elevated levels – 13.5% at the end of July – as Wood and co-manager Ben Leyland await further market falls to top up on their favoured long-term holdings.

Over five years to 3 August the fund had posted a return of 36.7% compared with 11.6% by the FTSE All Share.

Citywire Selection verdict:

This is the least volatile fund in the UK All Companies sector over three and five years yet comfortably outperforms the index. Such a unique risk/reward profile is rare. Wood and co-manager Ben Leyland focus on stocks and sectors that generate high returns on capital, which they believe is vital in a low growth environment. This astute approach helps the fund outperform, especially in downward markets, with Wood also holding over 10% in cash when valuations are deemed too high.

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  • JOHCM UK Opportunities Inst Acc GBP
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  • GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK.L)
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  • Compass Group PLC (CPG.L)
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  • Unilever PLC (ULVR.L)
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  • Imperial Tobacco Group PLC (IMT.L)
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  • British American Tobacco PLC (BATS.L)
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  • Reed Elsevier PLC (REL.L)
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  • Next PLC (NXT.L)
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  • John Wood
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