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Ecclesiastical's Hepworth exits gold on slowing QE fears
by Matthew Goodburn on Nov 19, 2012 at 13:20
Gold had made up the biggest position within the £192 million global equities fund, with Hepworth holding 3.8% of the fund in ETFS Physical Gold but he believes that any reduction in additional money printing will have a negative impact on the gold price.
After the lastest MPC move, Hepworth sold the ETF on 15 November and told Citywire that he would now look to patiently recycle the cash into new positions in selective South East Asia stocks which he believes to have more attractive growth prospects.
The gold holding had been initiated in October 2010 and has rewarded Hepworth handsomely over the past two years, realising a profit of 28%, over a time period in which the FTSE All Share has returned just 1%.
He told Citywire: 'I made this call on the back of the recent MPC meeting, where it was decided not to support a further round of quantitative easing. I believe the effectiveness of QE has been, and will increasingly be questioned.'
He also cast doubt on whether the US Federal Reserve would be able to continue with its plan to maintain QE over the next two to three years.
'The recent strength of the US dollar shows that the forex markets are also not convinced the Fed will fulfil its pledge to maintain QE through to 2015.'
Hepworth will now look to drip money back into the market through opportunities in South East Asia stocks, which are a significant overweight in the fund, with the US remaining a key underweight.
'Proceeds from the sale are held in cash which now represents 8.5% of the portfolio. There are no immediate plans to reinvest though attractive opportunities continue to be found in South East Asia nations including Thailand and Malaysia.'
Over five years to the end of October, the fund has returned 19% compared to 15.3% by the FTSE World Index.
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