Lindsell Train UK Equity sees investors head for the exit

by Tom Bailey from Money Observer |

During a poor month for performance, net withdrawals swelled at the usually consistent fund.

LF Lindsell Train UK Equity saw its largest ever withdrawals in September, according to new data released by Morningstar.

Over the course of the month, the fund, managed by Nick Train, saw net withdrawals totalling £374 million.

Figures for the year are, though, in positive territory, with net inflows standing at £193 million.

However, over the course of September, the fund saw a cumulative return of -0.3%. In comparison, the FTSE All-Share Total Return index, the fund's benchmark, returned 3%.

That's a sharp divergence from the trend over the past few years, in which Train's fund has consistently beat its benchmark. Over the past five years, the fund has returned 99% while the FTSE All-Share Total Return index has returned 38.9%. 

Behind the investor withdrawals, says Ben Yearsley, director of Shore Financial Planning, is "the sudden re-emergence of UK domestic stocks".

Train's fund is heavily tilted towards growth stocks, often with the majority of earnings generated abroad. But, says Yearsley:

"Domestically focused and value funds have had a much better run over the last six weeks or so as has the pound, in that type of environment you will see money switch from one style to another."

This style rotation was also mentioned by Train in his latest letter to shareholders. The fund manager noted: "Performance last month gives fund holders some idea of what can happen when investor preferences change and there are resulting shifts out of hitherto popular sectors toward underperforming or unloved areas."

The market sentiment switch from global growth to domestic value can be seen in several of Lindsell Train UK Equity holdings. Train says: "So, Diageo (LSE:DGE), RELX (LSE:REL) and Unilever (LSE:ULVR) all fell in September, by up to 6% in the case of Unilever. Meanwhile, holdings perceived to offer exposure to UK domestic fortunes, such as Hargreaves Lansdown (LSE:HL.), Schroders (LSE:SDR)and Daily Mail (LSE:DMGT) gained.

"To the extent we have greater portfolio exposure to the former type of company our overall return lagged that of the FTSE All Share Total Return index over the month."

Train, however, has made clear that any temporary underperformance will not lead to the fund changing its investment strategy. Train noted:

"To avoid any doubt – we absolutely will not change the shape of the portfolio because of the possibility of a period of underperformance."

This article was originally published in our sister magazine Money Observer. Click here to subscribe.

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Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article. 

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