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Haines’ manual

Threadneedle head of UK equities Michael Taylor and his team have produced very good results over the past year. Two of their seven UK funds are high up in the top decile while all the other funds are in the first quartile or high up in the second quartile.

The fund I like best at present is Simon Haines’ UK mid 250 fund, which is up by over 23 per cent compared with a sector average of under 13 per cent to July 31, 2006.

I forecast that Haines will be one of the investment stars of the future and his fund, which is comparatively small at the moment, is flexible enough to invest in all the good bargains in its sector.

Ninety per cent of his investments will be in the mid-cap sector but he does have the ability to buy FTSE 100 and Aim companies as well.

Haines is essentially a stockpicker and chooses stocks in three main categories – those with assets, those with growth potential and recovery stocks. Assets stocks include oil and mining shares. Growth stocks could be anything from building materials companies in niche sectors where there is little competition or technology companies owning valuable intellectual property. Recovery stocks could be any type of company such as engineering companies in recovery markets.

Overall, the fund has a growth bias. The manager believes that while mid-caps have had a good run and appear slightly more expensive than they have been historically, over the longer term they have been a consistent winner for investors and the best mid-cap stocks have usually outperformed the best FTSE 100 stocks.

I like this fund and, with Threadneedle’s research resources and with a bright young manager, it should certainly be a good choice for all growth portfolios.

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