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My best play: 10 wealth managers reveal their top 2013 calls

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by Harriet Dodd on Aug 01, 2013 at 10:35

From buying small technology stocks to selling gold, ten wealth managers reveal their best plays so far this year.

Simon Brett, chief Investment officer, Parmenion

‘[My] Biggest success of the year was the Lindsell Train UK Equity fund. Nick Train seeks to invest in undervalued cash generative companies with a strong franchise. Particular focus is on companies that will benefit from the growth in emerging markets, the benefits of the internet and how it will change commerce and also the growth in wealth management. The result is a concentrated portfolio with a low turnover. The results speak for themselves, top quartile performance over one, three and five years benchmarked against the UK All Companies sector.’

James Gardner, fund manager, Signature

‘One of the bigger successes I’ve had for clients has been to back Fidelity Special Values Investment Trust when Alex Wright took over as manager after Sanjeev Shah stepped down. His deep value approach has been particularly successful in identifying opportunities in these recovering markets, and so far this year the trust has outperformed the FTSE 100 by over 20%. Despite this significant outperformance I’m still very happy to hold.’

Haig Bathgate, chief Investment officer, Turcan Connell

‘Our best plays have been long Japanese equities on a hedged currency basis and generally increasing equity weightings at the tail end of last year. We also avoided increasing weightings in emerging markets (Asia in particular).’

Freddie Lait, fund manager, Odey

‘The best contributor to performance so far this year has been our holding in Ocado; up +275% year to date. The deal with Morrison’s and the potential capacity roll out in the coming years has confirmed our bull case, and we look forward to continuing success from this best in class distributor.’

Stacey Ash, investment manager, iFunds

‘One of our best fund picks this year was the iShares MSCI Japan Small Cap ETF, which we opened a position in on 6 February. Our investment process is quant driven based on trend and this was picked up as having, what was at the time, the strongest risk-adjusted trend globally. It has since returned 19% in sterling terms.

‘There has been some persistence in the trend, as it’s still at the top despite the volatility experienced in Japan during May. However, as we adjust for volatility over time, this prevents us from being too active and reacting to one-off events, such as profit taking.’

Gerry Loughrey, wealth manager, Quilter Cheviot

‘Selling gold, and other resource funds like world mining and natural resources, but while the long term strategy suggests upward momentum due to ever increasing demand and shortages, tactically there is a time to sell as well. [We] will no doubt return to these soon I guess.

‘Another smart move was to capture the rehabilitation and subsequent uplift in financials. The banks - particularly US ones - are flying and we had excellent gearing towards the US recovery which appears to have real traction now. We will be looking to perhaps rotate large cap/growth US including trackers, into more value style funds such as Brown Advisory US value. These have not really participated in the general uplift in the US indices, but their day is approaching as value is sought.’

David Cowell, chief executive and founder, Myddleton Croft

‘[My] Best plays were both in food and catering: 1) Greencore (shares doubled), and 2) Publicising ‘The Local Pantry’, my daughter-in-law’s shop and eatery north of Leeds. I got a free lunch! After this I may get another.’

Andrew Hough-Smith, investment manager, WH Ireland

‘Blinkx – I bought this small cap tech company at the start of the year, they are up 81% year to date.’

Niamh Wylie, portfolio Manager, Coutts

‘Japan hedged has been a clear winner for us this year with holdings in Polar Capital Japan up 42% in sterling terms year to date.’

Ben Wattam,investment manager Mattioli Woods

‘Firstly, selling our gold bullion holdings in February, secondly, we reduced emerging market holdings in May, both moves of which have driven our performance this year.’

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