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MFM Slater Growth - a stock picker's portfolio

Kate Marshall | Thu 28 July 2016

Investments can go down as well as up so there is always a danger that you could get back less than you invest. Nothing here is personalised advice, if unsure you should seek advice.
  • A focus on small, domestically-focused UK businesses held back performance following the EU referendum
  • The manager took the opportunity to add to favoured investments at cheaper prices
  • Long-term returns have been driven by good stock selection
  • The UK's vote to leave the European Union created much uncertainty. The UK stock market fell in the immediate aftermath of the vote, although there was a marked difference in the performance of small and larger businesses. Higher-risk small and medium-sized companies, which are more exposed to the health of the UK economy, saw their share prices fall sharply. However, the share prices of the UK's largest firms, which derive a greater proportion of their earnings overseas, fell to a lesser extent.

    The MFM Slater Growth Fund's bias to smaller businesses proved a strain on its performance. In the days following the EU referendum the fund fell 12.3% compared with a loss of 7.7%* for the average fund in the IA UK All Companies sector. This is, however, over a short timeframe and is not a guide to how the fund will perform in future.

    Annual percentage growth
    July 11 -
    July 12
    July 12 -
    July 13
    July 13 -
    July 14
    July 14 -
    July 15
    July 15 -
    July 16
    IA UK All Companies -4.9% 21.7% 13.7% 7.0% -2.6%
    MFM Slater Growth -8.0% 15.4% 36.6% 17.6% -6.4%

    Source: Lipper IM to *01/07/2016.

    Past performance is not a guide to future returns.

    Investments in a number of property and construction-related companies, including Bellway and Redrow, were particularly damaging to performance. Other domestically-focused firms such as Restore, which provides document management and record storage, and Essentra, which provides plastic and fibre products, proved painful.

    On the other hand, US company Walt Disney performed well over the period (the fund has the ability to invest up to 20% overseas), as did other globally-focused businesses, such as healthcare group Hutchison China MediTech.

    Mark Slater, the fund's manager, believes many of the companies he invests in have been unfairly dismissed due to their focus on the UK market. Their longer-term prospects remain unchanged, in his view, and he has not made significant changes to the portfolio. He has, however, taken the opportunity to add to favoured holdings at cheaper prices, particularly UK businesses he believes will prove resilient over the long term, as well as overseas earners offering niche products or services.

    Our view

    Mark Slater spends his time analysing the long-term prospects for individual companies rather than the short-term impact of unpredictable wider economic issues. He demonstrates real conviction by investing in a concentrated portfolio of his best ideas, meaning each holding can have a significant impact on performance.

    We have long held the view that combining investment in small and medium-sized companies with such a concentrated approach makes the fund a higher-risk proposition and would expect it to go through periods of underperformance. Shorter-term performance could be volatile, however, Mark Slater has delivered strong long-term returns for investors aided by good stock selection, according to our analysis.

    The fund does not currently feature on the Wealth 150 list of our favourite funds across the major sectors. While we believe long-term, patient investors will be rewarded by Mark Slater's stock-picking ability, we feel we already have a strong line-up of managers focused on small and medium-sized UK companies on the Wealth 150.

    Find out more about this fund including how to invest

    Please read the key features/key investor information document in addition to the information above.

    Important information - Please remember the value of investments, and any income from them, can fall as well as rise so you could get back less than you invest. This article is provided to help you make your own investment decisions, it is not advice. If you are unsure of the suitability of an investment for your circumstances please seek advice. No news or research item is a personal recommendation to deal.


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