With over 30 years of investment experience, Colin McLean is "widely regarded as one of the UK's top stockpicking analysts", says Citywire. But back in the early 1990s, the 54-year-old Glaswegian earned himself an all-too-different reputation as the "enfant terrible" of Scottish finance, says the Financial Times.
Having moved north of the border after several years with Templeton Investment Management in London, he set about targeting underperforming trusts in order to force "shake-ups that would benefit his own" SVM Global Fund. The strategy didn't hurt the fund of funds' early performance it has returned 16% a year on average since launch in 1991. Investing in a range of specialist funds in areas such as Russia and resources, the fund's biggest holding is Eurovestech, a private-equity fund. Like MoneyWeek, McLean is keen on big UK oil stocks, especially BP, "which could be due a recovery and has become very cheap", he tells the Daily Mail. "Royal Dutch Shell is likely to follow if BP recovers and dividend yields on these businesses are also attractive."
Over the past five years, the fund has returned 169.2%, says Trustnet.co.uk, against 58.2% for the FTSE World index. So it's no surprise that it trades on a premium of 2.8% to net asset value, which means investors may be better off waiting for a correction to buy. "It has had a good run so there is not much value in the short term, but long term it is a great holding," says John Moore of Brewin Dolphin in The Sunday Telegraph.
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SVM Global Fund top ten holdings
Name of holding % of assets
Firebird Republics Fund 3.80%
Merrill Lynch World Mining IT 3.60%
JPM Russian Securities 3.60%
Prospect Japan 3.10%
Firebird New Russia Fund 3.00%
Merrill Lynch Latin American 2.60%
Oryx International Growth Fund 2.60%
Vostok Nafta Investment 2.50%
Dolphin Capital Investors 2.50%
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