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Reality bites for fantasy fund manager as Manek shuts down

Reality bites for fantasy fund manager as Manek shuts down

The man who captured the imagination some 25 years ago after winning a fantasy stockpicking competition is shutting his fund under less glorious circumstances. 

Former pharmacist Jayesh Manek launched his Manek Growth fund in 1997 to huge fanfare after back-to-back wins in the Sunday Times fantasy fund manager competition in the early 1990s. 

His apparent stockpicking skills caught the eye of legendary investor John Templeton, who gave Manek £10 million of his personal fortune to invest on his behalf. 

This investment helped Manek set up his investment firm Manek Investments, through which he launched the Growth fund. 

Manek's fantasy stockpicking success was initially replicated on the fund as it returned 160% in its first three years with assets shooting up to £300 million.

However, things turned sour for him after the technology bubble burst at the turn of the century and he has never recovered. 

Over the last three years to the end of October, the fund is rooted at the bottom of its sector, losing 21.4% versus an average manager return of 32%. 

The fund also languishes at the bottom over 10 years with a massive loss of 55% versus an average 69.9% return among its peers. 

Assets in the fund have shrunk to £8 million, which has finally prompted Manek to shut it down. The wind-up date has been set for 28 December. 

'We have monitored the overall investment in the fund and have concluded it is below the minimum sustainable value,' Manek wrote to remaining unitholders in a letter posted on his firm's website. 

'We believe, that continuing to operate the fund at this level would not be economically viable as the fund size is too small to be managed efficiently.'

 

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