Angela Lascelles’ stockbroker father told her that she could never do what he did, as she was female. She decided to go into investment management anyway. After graduating in philosophy from Kings College London, she began as a graduate trainee at stockbroker Phillips & Drew. After four years, she moved to the buy side, managing pension funds and investment trusts. In 1986, she set up OLIM Investment Managers with Matthew Oakeshott, and ran the Value and Income Trust. She also runs SVS Albion OLIM UK Equity Income (since 2002) and S&W Charity Value and Income (since 2009).
What is her strategy?
Lascelles and her co-managers focus on value and income. She “aims to find high-quality companies when they are rated as income stocks and stick with them”. The best opportunities arise when firms are “mid- or small-sized companies – at £100m market cap or above”. She then “gets to know the managements and see the companies regularly”. Once she’s made her decision to buy, she tends to hang on as the market’s perception changes, and the companies start to be seen as growth stocks and attract higher growth ratings. Over the last 28 years, the Value and Income Trust has returned 1,117%, compared with 583.9% for the FTSE – an annual return of 9.3% compared with 7.1% for the index. Her other two funds have also outperformed.
What were her best trades?
In the late 1980s Lascelles bought engineers Rotork and Vosper Thorneycroft. These sorts of companies were viewed as “a lost cause”. But “the doubters were wrong”. Rotork has returned 11,680% since the start of 1989, compared with 783.5% for the FTSE, and Lascelles still owns a (reduced) stake in the stock. Similarly, Vosper did very well before being taking over by Babcock for £1.2bn in 2010.
What can investors learn?
Don’t blindly follow market sentiment. The best strategy is to be “buy into high quality income streams when everybody is panicking”. Two recent examples where panic created buying opportunities for calm investors came in the immediate aftermath of Brexit, and when Donald Trump was elected. It’s also always a good idea to take advantage of a stockmarket bubble by “selling when hype is at its height”.