Fantasy fund managers – who has made the Bestinvest UK equities squad?

03 June 2014


As any football fan will know, in selecting a team it is vital to choose individual players with strengths that will complement each other and that means having those that can defend, play midfield and, of course, score goals. Achieving the right a mix of youth and experience is always a major call for a manager.

Putting together an investment portfolio is really no different: you need fund managers who can protect value when the going gets tough as well as those who have the flair and hunger to shoot the lights out in delivering returns.

It would be unwise to select a football team comprised wholly of defenders or strikers and likewise a truly balanced investment portfolio will diversify across successful managers with different styles, so that they can stay in the game through the ups and downs.

With the World Cup just days away, Bestinvest’s Managing Director Jason Hollands, has assembled a dream team of top UK equity managers.

The centre forwards:

11. Blackrock UK Special Situations (Richard Plackett)

This fund, managed by Richard Plackett, takes an unconstrained approach and is prepared to trade actively where the manager spots a short term opportunity to bang some extra performance in the net. No stranger to understanding the need to win in battle, Plackett has also written a novel about the War of the Roses.

10. Standard Life UK Equity Income Unconstrained (Thomas Moore)

Although not related to England World Cup legend Bobby Moore, Moore is a rising star nevertheless. His fund has the remit to invest wherever the action is, be it large, medium or smaller companies. Moore’s fund is higher risk than others in the sector, but his more gung-ho approach which has focused on parts of the UK stock market with greater exposure in the UK economic recovery has paid off.

9. AXA Framlington UK Mid Cap (Chris St. John)

Another rising star, St. John focuses on medium sized companies, the hottest spot in the UK market. Overall, a continued bullish scenario for UK PLC would be good news for mid-cap companies as it is this part of the market where they have a greater exposure to domestic revenues and is where many of the more cyclically biased industries such as house builders and manufacturers can be found.

The midfielders:

8. Schroders UK Alpha Income (Matt Hudson)

Also in the team and one of the top performers in the UK equity income sector is Matt Hudson, who recently joined Premier League Club Schroders through their acquisition of Cazenove Capital. Hudson is an adaptable player who adjusts his fund for each phase of the business cycle.

7. Old Mutual UK Alpha (Richard Buxton)

Buxton was Captain of the UK Equities team at Schroders for many years, but in 2013 transferred to ambitious upstarts Old Mutual Global Investors. With a long career track record, the structure of Buxton’s fund largely replicates the process he followed whilst at Schroders, and contains a concentrated portfolio of his best ideas largely among the 350 largest companies on the UK market.

6. AXA Framlington UK Select Opportunities (Nigel Thomas)

Veteran manager Nigel Thomas brings experience to the team with a 27-year track record of managing funds in the UK All Companies sector, the last 12 of which have been running his current fund. He remains a nimble player, with his success founded on a pragmatic approach to picking both growth and value stocks from across the entire UK stock market, with typically around half the portfolio invested in small and mid-cap companies.


The defenders:

5. Growth: Liontrust Special Situations (Anthony Cross and Julian Fosh)

If you want players you can depend on at all points during the tournament, this duo specialises in picking companies that won’t lose the ball during downturns in the business cycle.  Their investment approach focuses on companies with an "Economic Advantage" that will sustain earnings growth for longer than expected. In real terms this means picking companies with attributes such as intellectual property (e.g. patents), strong distribution and recurring business (for example under contracts) that make it difficult for competitors to replicate. This should therefore enable Cross and Fosh to be less sensitive to the ebbs and flows of the economic cycle.

4. Income & growth: Woodford Equity Income (Neil Woodford)

There has been a lot of pre match hype about this manager who this week launched his new fund at self-named Woodford Investment Management. Woodford gained his badge of ‘star manager’ at Invesco Perpetual where he successfully ran the Invesco Perpetual High Income fund as well as other mandates.  A manager who is at his best when the going gets tough, Woodford has a defensive approach focused on cash generative large business, bought at reasonable valuations.

3. Income & growth Fidelity MoneyBuilder Dividend (Michael Clark)

Fidelity stalwart Clark has a focus on solid, blue chip companies and a more defensive investment style compared to his peers. We consider the fund to be a core UK equity income fund.

2. Growth: JO Hambro CM UK Opportunities (John Wood)

Wood is a demanding player, who adopts a rigorous selection criteria when choosing his portfolio of mainly high quality large and mid-cap companies, with each holding in the portfolio broadly weighted similarly, so that every stock can make a contribution.

The goalkeeper:

1. Threadneedle UK Absolute Alpha (Mark Westwood/Chris Kinder)

A long/short UK equity fund, Threadneedle UK Absolute Alpha invests in large and mid-cap UK Equities. The team aim to deliver strong performance in all environments and while the track record of the fund is relatively short, both managers have previous experience running long/short equity mandates. The fund is also still relatively small; if necessary this should enable the managers to be more agile – a good quality in a keeper – in opening and closing fund positions.



Important information

Please note the value of investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you originally invested.

The value of investments, and the income derived from them, can go down as well as up and you can get back less than you originally invested. Past performance or any yields quoted should not be considered reliable indicators of future returns. This article does not constitute personal advice. If you are in doubt as to the suitability of an investment please contact one of our advisers.

About Bestinvest:

Founded in 1986, Bestinvest has grown to become a leading private client investment adviser, looking after £5 billion of assets. We offer a range of investment services from the Online Investment Service for self-directed investors to Investment Advisory and Investment Management services for clients who do not have the time or inclination to manage their own investments.

All of our services are underpinned by rigorous research aimed at identifying those fund managers we believe will deliver long-term superior performance. We also have a team of expert financial planners with nationwide coverage to help clients with their pensions, retirement or Inheritance Tax planning. At Bestinvest, we pride ourselves on offering the highest levels of professionalism and expertise with transparent, competitive prices. We are pleased that our greatest source of new business is from personal referrals from existing clients.

Bestinvest has won numerous awards including Stockbroker of the Year, Low-Cost Sipp Provider of the Year and Self-Select ISA Provider of the Year at The Investors Chronicle and Financial Times Investment Awards 2013. Bestinvest also won UK Wealth Manager of the Year 2013 and Best Wealth Manager for Investments at The Investors Chronicle and the Financial Times Wealth Management Awards 2013.

Headquartered in Mayfair, London, Bestinvest employs more than 200 staff and has an extensive network of regional offices. For further information, please visit:






About Tilney

Tilney is a leading investment and financial planning group that builds on a heritage of more than 180 years.  Our clients are private investors, charities and professional intermediaries who trust us with over £23 billion of their assets. We offer a range of services including financial planning, investment management and advice and, through our Bestinvest service, a leading online platform for those who prefer to manage their own investments.

We have won numerous awards. Tilney has been awarded Best Conventional Advisory Service at the 2018 City of London Wealth Management Awards, Best Advisory Service in the 2015 City of London Wealth Management Awards; Investment Award – Cautious category in the Private Asset Management Awards; and Stockbroker of the Year, Execution-only Stockbroker of the Year and Self-select ISA Provider of the Year 2015, as voted by readers of the Financial Times and Investors Chronicle. Bestinvest was voted Best SIPP Provider and Best Fund Platform at the 2017 City of London Wealth Management Awards, Best Direct SIPP Provider at the Awards 2017, Best Stocks & Shares ISA Provider at the 2017 Shares Awards, as well as Best Self Select ISA Provider, Best Online/Execution-only Stockbroker and Best Investment Platform 2017 at the FT and Investors Chronicle Investment and Wealth Management Awards, as voted by readers of the FT and Investors Chronicle.

Headquartered in Mayfair, London, the Tilney Group employs over 1,000 staff across our network of 30 offices, enabling us to support clients with a local service throughout the UK.