Twitter icon Email alerts icon Latest News RSS icon Magazine icon Stay connected:

View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/article/a755959

Michael Hart: an obituary for the 1980s fund manager poster boy

by Dylan Lobo on Jun 10, 2014 at 11:47

With so much focus on today's generation of superstar fund managers, the passing of Michael Hart last month went relatively unnoticed.  

Hart managed the UK's oldest investment trust, Foreign & Colonial for 28 years from 1969 before handing the reigns to Jeremy Tigue in 1997. In this period he oversaw a rise in assets from £180 million to £2.3 billion, while the share price rose from 8p to 160p.  

At the peak of his popularity around 500 investors would make the pilgrimage to the trust's annual meeting just to hear his stockmarket views.

The fan club ranged from Warren Buffett to Tony Blair, who both attended his lunches. However, Gordon Brown was among the few to turn down an invite - 'Unfortunately, he didn’t seem interested in the subject at all,' Hart recollected following his retirement from the fund industry.

Hart had to contend with a number of extraordinary conditions in his career, including the 1970s oil shock, the 1987 stockmarket crash and the 1990s recession.

In an interview with the Financial Times in September 2008, 81-year-old Hart fondly recalled some of these extremities.

'I guess I started out as a naive optimist and never really changed all that much,' he told the paper.

'In 1974 stocks fell so far and so fast that everyone lost hope. But panic creates great opportunities and towards the end of the decline I presented a list of stocks I wanted to buy to the board. They were blue-chip stocks at bargain basement prices, so we agreed I would borrow some money and take a big bet on them.'

This basic approach, which he described as 'low risk nibble away', took him to all corners of the world to hunt down opportunities. 

Industrial conglomerate GEC,  was one of his most successful plays with a £300,000 investment worth £3 million six years later. He did have his fair share of disappointments too, including the ill-fated purchase of Eurotunnel shares.

Sign in / register to view full article on one page

1 comment so far. Why not have your say?

Keith Cobby

Jun 10, 2014 at 14:37

Very sad to hear of the passing of Michael Hart. A true pioneer of the investment trust sector and the low cost savings scheme in particular.

His launching of the F & C savings scheme in 1984 started my interest in the sector and I am still investing in F & C through their investment plan. My son was only a month old when I opened his CTF with F & C.

report this

leave a comment

Please sign in here or register here to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.

News sponsored by:

Sponsored Video: Bringing it all back home


As the UK coalition government strives to rebalance the national economy, so called 'reshoring' looks set to play an increasingly important role in economic recovery.

Today's top headlines

The Citywire guide to investment trusts

Investment trusts have proved to be a highly effective way to invest in the market. Citywire has interviewed the experts to find out more.

Sponsored Video: Barings on investing in Frontier Markets


From Nigeria to Pakistan and from Kenya to Kuwait, frontier markets are catching investors' attention as never before.

More about this:

Look up the investment trusts

Look up the fund managers

  • Jeremy Tigue
    Register or Sign in to receive email alerts for items in your favourites whenever we write about them

What others are saying

Archive

On the road

Click here to find out more from the Audience Development team.

Sorry, this link is not
quite ready yet