Merian UK Smaller Companies Focus Fund R GBP Inc

UK Smaller Companies

Update: 20 February 2020: Merian UK Smaller Companies Focus placed under review
Full details can be found here.

Rated Fund 2017-20. Standout team-based approach and investment process

Merian UK Smaller Companies Focus had a poor 2018, but its performance improved last year and its long-term performance remains sector-leading. It was a worthy runner-up in the Best UK Smaller Companies fund category of Money Observer's 2019 awards. Its team-based approach and unusual investment process set it apart. Nick Williamson became lead manager at the start of 2016 and has attracted a following on account of his conviction behind certain team stockpicks proving correct. That led Morningstar to hand the fund a bronze rating in 2018.

Most smaller companies funds take a bottom-up stockpicking approach that pays little regard to the economic backdrop, but the Merian team blends top-down views with fundamental analysis. It has a pragmatic and flexible investment approach: there is no rigid bias toward a value or a growth style. Instead, it looks to respond to prevailing economic and market conditions, and position the portfolio accordingly. Investing with reference to the economic outlook could stand it in good stead at this late stage in the economic cycle.

It is one of Willis Owen's favoured funds. Adrian Lowcock, its head of personal investing, says Williamson has further differentiated himself by running a higher-conviction portfolio than many peers (60 holdings) and being willing to react to short-term price movements. Lowcock adds: "The Merian team is one of the best and most extensive in the industry; they are extremely knowledgeable about the companies they invest in, and excellent stockpickers."

It has a performance fee of 10% of the relative outperformance of the Numis Smaller Companies index - a price worth paying if Williamson can maintain his stellar long-term record.

Narrative and ratings content all as of January 2020.  

See all Money Observer rated funds
Merian UK Smaller Companies Focus Fund R GBP Inc
Merian Global Investors (Europe) Limited
Open Ended Investment Company
UK Smaller Companies
0.84 %
Risk Rating
3 Year Sharpe
3 Year Alpha
1.1 %
Numis Smaller Companies ex ITs
Merian UK Smaller Companies Focus Fund aims to provide capital growth from investing primarily in an equity portfolio of UK smaller companies. Smaller companies are defined for this purpose as those companies which are quoted on a regulated market and which have a market capitalisation no greater than the largest company in the Numis Smaller Companies Index at the time of initial investment. The Numis Smaller Companies Index is designed to monitor the performance of the smaller companies sector.
Holding %
Onesavings Bank PLC 6.04 %
Boohoo Group PLC 4.75 %
Alpha FX Group PLC 3.84 %
Gamma Communications PLC 3.33 %
Blue Prism Group PLC 3.26 %
Knights Group Holdings PLC 3.16 %
Bellway PLC 3.10 %
Workspace Group PLC 3.00 %
Clinigen Group PLC 2.99 %
Region %
United Kingdom 100.00 %
Sector %
Financial Services 23.11 %
Industrials 20.33 %
Consumer Cyclical 16.30 %
Real Estate 9.41 %
Communication Services 9.28 %
Technology 8.55 %
Basic materials 6.73 %
Merian Global Investors (Europe) Limited
Dublin, Ireland
Legal Structure
Open Ended Investment Company


Nick Williamson
Joined 01/01/2016

Nick has worked at the company since 2008, covering a variety of sectors for the wider UK equities team. Prior to his appointment as manager of the Merian UK Smaller Companies Focus Fund, Nick acted as deputy manager on both the onshore and offshore UK smaller companies funds, since January 2014. Before this he was a sell-side analyst for more than 10 years, with a broad range of analytical responsibilities, most recently at Citigroup.

Data provided by Morningstar.

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