InvestmentsMay 21 2013

Franklin’s Russon rings changes on UK Select Growth

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Franklin Templeton’s recent hire Ben Russon has slashed the number of holdings in the £108m Franklin UK Select Growth fund ahead of taking over as lead manager on June 3.

Mr Russon, who joined the company’s Leeds-based UK equity managers in April, takes over from Mark Hall. Mr Hall is stepping back due to health reasons and is set to take on a research and analysis role on the fund.

As part of the changes Mr Russon has cut the fund’s holdings from 66 to 44 in his first few weeks working on the fund and increased its bias towards large cap equities.

“I have always run a large cap bias at Newton [on the UK Opportunities fund], of 65-90 per cent,” Mr Russon said. “Also some of the fund’s mid cap holdings have done well so we have sold down some on a valuation basis.”

Among the holdings sold are some of the UK Select Growth fund’s mid and small cap holdings, particularly in the media and financials sectors. Mr Russon has reduced five media companies to two, selling ITV, Informa and Euromoney, and in the financial sector he has sold Paragon, Barclays and Grainger to bring the fund’s financial holdings to five.

Mr Russon and Mr Hall expect the handover of the fund to be completed by the end of May.

In the five years to May 20 the Franklin UK Select Growth fund gained 23.7 per cent, according to FE Analytics, compared with the IMA UK All Companies sector’s average return of 32.1 per cent.