Buxton's firm turns to unquoted stocks for first fund launch

Buxton's firm turns to unquoted stocks for first fund launch

Merian, the investment house known as Old Mutual Global Investors before fund manager Richard Buxton led a buyout and changed the name, is to launch an investment trust to invest in unquoted companies.

The trust launch, which aims to raise £200m at the initial public offering (IPO) stage, is the first new product launched by Mr Buxton since he completed the buyout.

The trust, which will be known as Merian Chrysalis, will be run by Richard Watts and Nick Williamson and will make between 7 and 15 investments.

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Mr Watts runs the £3.5bn UK Mid Cap fund at the firm, which has been the third best performer out of 220 funds in the IA UK All Companies sector over the past five years to 10 September.

Mr Williamson runs the £441m UK Smaller Companies Focus fund at the firm, which has delivered annualised returns of 29 per cent since launch, and is ahead of its peer group average.

The company said the reason for launching a trust to invest in unquoted companies at this time was the "compelling" opportunity offered by unquoted companies.

Merian’s trust launch is following a trend in the industry, with wealth manager St James's Place having previously announced it would deploy some client capital to unquoted investments, and fund manager Neil Woodford having created the Patient Capital investment trust.

Mr Watts said: "We believe this launch represents an exciting opportunity for investors to gain exposure to a high-growth area of the market that is typically difficult to access.

"With multiple investment opportunities across a range of evolving sectors, we believe there is an excellent opportunity to generate attractive capital returns for our investors by backing good management teams to continue to build great businesses."