Hargreaves: Woodford debacle could lead to buy list scepticism

"I would look at the success of Fundsmith, I’ve known Terry Smith for years, and it has done well. He had a lot of publicity at the start because he had the cheapest fund in the sector, now its one the dearest, and he had a nice run at the start because one of the companies he bought was subject to a takeover.

"And Nick Train is another of the ones that have done very well, and there are more like him. And there are others who have been more speculative, have dipped in and out of these biotech stocks and its worked."

He said Stephen Yiu, who runs Blue Whale Growth, was "one of the few" managers who understood value investing was declining.

James Klempster, investment director at multi-asset fund house Momentum is more positive on the outlook for value investing. 

He said it has "always been the case that some of the stocks that look cheap are cheap for a reason, that they are becoming obsolete, but it’s the job of the value manager to identify those and avoid them, while buying the rest".

The Blue Whale fund has 15 per cent in cash, but Mr Hargreaves said this is not a view that the market is going to decline sharply. 

He said: “When everyone is saying markets are bad, when everyone is highlighting the problems with the US and China, and with other issues, that’s not the time to worry, the time to worry is when everyone is saying everything is fine.

"People say to us, 'why don’t you use the cash in the fund to buy more of the holdings you have', but I would say, what’s wrong with having the liquidity. The stocks we want are those that have share prices that can grow even faster than the company, and the company to be growing as well, and there aren’t that many of those in the world."

Mr Hargreaves added: “The Blue Whale fund could be liquidated and all cash returned to investors in twenty four hours, and if the fund got bigger than it is now, it might take a little longer, but that's all, you can always sell £100m of Google shares quickly."