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The eclectic approach powering this US fund to the top of the pile
by James Phillipps on Oct 08, 2013 at 14:51
The rise of plutocracy, regionalism and the breakdown of the nuclear family may on the face of it reflect the worst side of humanity, but these themes have helped power the VT De Lisle America fund to the top of the charts.
The little known vehicle is up 91.23% over the three years to the end of August, compared to a 64.91% rise in the S&P 500, in sterling terms, according to Lipper. This ranks it 1/113 in the Citywire Equity- North America sector, almost 6% ahead of its nearest rival.
The De Lisle America fund is based on a strategy that De Lisle Partners has run for over 17 years, which was brought over to the UK and launched as a Ucits III fund on 1 August 2010. Although it is currently only $25.5 million (£15.5 million) in size, its performance track record and increased visibility at the top of the charts is likely to bring onto more and more investors’ radars.
Manager Richard de Lisle admits his approach is unconventional, but in reality the themes he is playing are just an idiosyncratic take on mainstream investment ideas.
The trend towards plutocracy is a case in point.
‘The rich are getting richer,’ he said. ‘Since 2008, the richest 1% in the US have seen their income rise by 31% while the other 99% have not seen any rise at all.
‘The easiest way to play this is through luxury goods or the likes of Tiffany’s or Saks, but you can also look at it from the angle of the poor getting squeezed. The rise of the dollar stores has become big business and we hold a few of these stocks.’
De Lisle, who lives in Dorset, said the evidence of an upsurge in regionalism is clear in his county, which introduced its own flag in 2008, in part driven by the independent leanings of many in Cornwall.
‘It is not a pessimistic view,’ he said. ‘But you see more Cornish than British flags in Cornwall and in the US you see that trend too.’
He points to his holdings in Pulaski, a St Louis-based bank, which is entrenched in the local Polish community, and German American Bancorp, as examples.
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