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Johnston to run new LeggMason VCT fund

LeggMason Investors is to launch its new Aim VCT on February 26, to be managed by star small-cap manager John Johnston.

The fund is looking to raise £30m over the next four months, with offer periods in both this tax year and the next. The offer period for the current tax year will close on April 2, while a second offer period will run from the start of the new tax year to May 31.

Johnston joined LMI at the end of last year from Murray Johnstone, where he managed the top-performing Murray enterprise trust. Within the new fund, he will invest predominantly in AIM-listed companies, with the objective of achieving long-term capital growth. While awaiting investment, however, money will be invested in fixed-interest and quoted smaller companies securities.

The fund will have a minimum investment of £3,000, while a maximum of up to £100,000 can be invested in each tax year to qualify for the income tax breaks available.

The initial charge is 5 per cent, with an annual management charge of 2 per cent. Commission is 2.25 per cent initial with 0.4 per cent trail for up to 10 years.

Johnston is taking an advisory role on LMI&#39s other VCT, the Aim distribution trust.

Johnston says: “We believe there to be a great deal of value in the smaller companies market at the moment. The extent of the enthusiasm in markets last year pushed share prices to unsustainable levels, particularly in technology-related areas.

“The correction markets have experienced since has been exaggerated. With the prospect of a Fed-engineered economic recovery coming through in the latter half of this year, there are a large number of stock anomalies.”

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