We ask leading fund managers to name their best ever investment, here are the results.
Each month, Money Observer’s Money Maker series features the leading names in the fund management industry.
In each piece, our interviewees explain where they are currently finding value in their respective market or asset class, and also give their take on a wide range of macroeconomic talking points. We also ask fund managers to name their best and worst ever investment.
Here, we look back at the favourite choices made by some of the investors who have featured over the past two years.
Our 2018 Money Maker interviews
Mark Barnett, manager of various funds, including Invesco Perpetual High Income:
“Reynolds American, which I owned from 1998 until it was taken over earlier this year (2018) by British American Tobacco.”
Neil Woodford, manager of LF Woodford Equity Income fund:
“Calling the tech boom in 1999 was certainly a defining moment of my career. At the time I was constantly questioning my convictions, trying to convince myself that I’d got something wrong, that I’d missed something. But each time I’d arrive back to the same conclusion and I am thankful that my employer gave me the time for the market to eventually turn.”
“A large bookshelf.”
Rosemary Banyard, Sanford DeLand Free Spirit fund:
"Aveva, a software company, which enables engineers to design chemical plants or oil refineries in three dimensions. BP is a customer. I held this company in previous funds and it was ‘an eight-bagger’, producing an eightfold return. I bought it again for Free Spirit and it has continued to reward."
Harry Nimmo, manager of the Standard Life UK Smaller Companies fund:
"Either Asos or FeverTree; both stocks made a lot of money."
Neil Hermon, manager of Henderson Smaller Companies IT:
"NMC Health, a Middle Eastern healthcare business. We bought it in 2012 at £1.90 a share and it’s now about £35. It fitted our four Ms perfectly, and it had a combination of fast organic growth and successful diversification. Unfortunately, it got too big for us. It reached the FTSE 100 in Sept 2017, so we exited the position."
Mike Fox, manager of Royal London Sustainable World Trust:
"Amazon. We first invested in 2005, so it’s one of the longest-held positions in the portfolio, but I still think it will have a long-term positive social and economic impact."
Keith Ashworth-Lord, CFP SDL UK Buffettology fund:
"Games Workshop. It was dead money for about five years and people questioned why I stuck with it but I knew one day the market would realise its potential."
Praveen Kumar, manager of Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon:
Bengo4. Com. It’s an online service that connects lawyers with people who need legal advice, which has historically been hard to find. I like that the founder is a lawyer himself and owns a big part of the company.
Richard Penny, manager of FP Crux UK Special Situations:
Geo Interactive was the best in terms of returns: its shares grew by 220 times. It was a tech company that let you watch video clips on your phone. But it was easy to make those returns in the dotcom boom, so it’s not the investment I’m most proud of.
A selection of our 2017 interviews
Richard Buxton, manager of the Old Mutual UK Alpha fund:
"Reuters. I bought in 2000 and then sold in 2008, when the company was acquired by Thomson Corporation. I made 10 times investors' money. I had been attracted to the stock because it was so out of favour at the time, falling behind its nearest competitor, Bloomberg. I bought thinking it was the classic case of a cyclical stock at the low point in its cycle."
James Anderson, manager of the Scottish Mortgage investment trust:
"Amazon, which I have owned since 2004.’ More generally, when asked about why he favours tech-heavy businesses, including Alphabet (Google), Facebook and Alibaba, he adds: 'We believe these companies can be analysed in the classic way in order to gauge future growth rates and returns.
"We have become more and more confident that a set of companies is going to last a long time. The basic underpinnings of the technological revolution are getting stronger rather than weaker."
"ITV, over 20 years ago, when it had a dozen or so regional independent television companies. In the process, I learnt a valuable lesson – don’t underestimate a business that can capture people’s attention."
Jacob de Tusch-Lec, manager of Artemis Global Income:
"Drillisch, a German mobile-network operator. I bought it some time ago and still hold it now. A quirk in German legislation has forced the larger telecoms operators to wholesale their capacity to other network providers at a low price. Drillisch has been a beneficiary of this. The company is also a very shrewd retailer, both online and offline. Sometimes it's the boring stuff that's exciting."
Dale Nichols, manager of Fidelity China Special Situations:
"Outside China, the Japanese telecoms business Softbank. Chief executive Masayoshi Son has astonishing vision and execution. There is a huge amount of hidden value in the investments it holds. The company owns 20 per cent in Alibaba, for example, which is not reflected in the share price.
"Within China we have held 51job.com, which is the leader in online recruitment in China. The shift to online has happened very quickly and the company is executing on its plans effectively."