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An admirably steady performer, Lindsell Train Japanese Equity has been managed by Michael Lindsell since 2004. It remains relatively small but has attracted a growing following, with assets almost doubling during 2019 to just over £500 million.
Lindsell believes only a very limited number of companies meet his requirements for ‘exceptionalism’, so he concentrates the fund’s assets in a small number of holdings, typically 20 to 35. He focuses on companies with sustainable business models and/or established, resonant brands that demonstrate long-term durability in cash and profit generation. He invests for the very long term, which is why the fund’s turnover is among the lowest in the sector.
He normally sells a company when its share price reaches a level considerably at variance with his valuation target, and then only when he sees alternative undervalued and exceptional businesses he would like to buy instead. The fund’s largest holding is Nintendo, which accounts for almost 10% of assets and whose shares rallied an impressive 10% last November. That was driven by demand for its popular Switch console and cheaper portable version, Switch Lite. Lindsell points to these as appealing to a younger demographic helped by the pre-Christmas release of Pokémon titles Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.
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