asset allocator header image

Asset Allocator

from Asset Allocator

Train on track?

Lindsell Train's success, both in terms of growing assets and the performance of its funds, was one of the most persistent features of the decade prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Then came the decline, as growth investments fell from favour. So the performance of Nick Train's funds dropped, and then of course, came the outflows. 

Part of what provoked the chatter among market participants was the growth of the assets of the firm, without a concordant increase in the number of employees at the Buckingham Gate-based outfit, ensuring the firm was very profitable.  

The most recent set of accounts, which cover a period to the end of January 2022, when the flagship funds underperformed, show the company made a profit of £65m, while employing 20 people. That profit number was an increase of £2.5m on the prior year

And it seems some of the allocators on our database have been keeping faith with Lindsell Train, despite the performance issues. 

The UK mandate continues to be held by nine of the allocators on our database, a number which has grown in 2022, with two new buyers, versus one seller, during the year.

The fund is £4.6bn in size, despite having lost 9 per cent this year so far. This is down from £6.7bn in mid-2021.

It’s the second most widely-owned UK All Companies mandate among the DFMs we cover.

The Global Equity fund is less popular with allocators, held by just one of the allocators on our database.

There has been no buy or sell on this fund in 2022, the most recent was a sell in the final quarter of last year. 

This fund has lost 3 per cent over the past year to October 5, actually bettering the return of the IA Global sector, and has returned 51 per cent over the past five years. 

The Global fund is now £5.7bn in size but this has fallen from £9.1bn in mid-2021.

The third established fund run Lindsell Train is the Japanese Equity fund which is very much the purview of Mike Lindsell.

It has had a tough year in terms of demand from DFMs, with a net four sellers this year. The fund is now held by just two of the allocators on our database.

But it has actually had a strong 2022, losing just 0.39 per cent compared to a sector which lost 9 per cent.

However this is an aberration from its recent performance: cumulatively over three years it is the single worst performing fund in its sector, losing 12 per cent. It provided bottom quartile returns in both 2021 and 2022.

Indeed its assets have shrivelled by some 145 per cent to about £226mn since the start of 2021.

The North American fund the firm launched in 2020 is not owned by any DFMs in our database and is still only £28mn in size. It has lost 10 per cent so far this year, underperforming its sector.

Whether the new buyers of the UK fund have done so on the basis they think the growth factor is about to dominate again, or have taken a view that Train's long-term record is excellent and the opportunity to buy into his portfolio at depressed levels is a risk worth taking, is an open question.

As most of the companies his fund invests in are global in nature, even if listed in the UK, it may be the weakness of sterling relative to the dollar may boost returns.

Get the story behind the stories
The daily newsletter for fund buyers