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Julian Gibbs

An IFA said to me the other day it was a funny time to launch a fund when there are only a few investors about. He was referring to the launch of New Star UK Aggressive. I think he is totally wrong.

Investor confidence is returning and I believe in two or three years time today will seem to have been an excellent buying opportunity. IFAs should encourage their clients to invest now.

What I particularly like about New Star is that they hire top class fund managers and incentivise them properly. Tim Steer, the new fund manager, is a top investment analyst, formerly at Collins Stewart and Merrill Lynch, during which time his research was taken up on by such well known fund managers as Andy Brough at Schroders and Alistair Currie at Edinburgh Fund Managers.

In the last Institutional Investor&#39s survey of small and mid-cap companies he was ranked top analyst and has won other awards too. Because he specialises in analysing company accounts in great detail, he has often been able to avoid stocks which looked good on paper and buy stocks which were undervalued.

His stance is defensive in that he expects to pick stocks mainly from the mid-cap and smaller company area in sectors such as building materials, property and support services, as well as the best retailers and manufacturing and service companies with strong market niches.

His fund will be very different from most actively managed funds, which are often closet index trackers, and he expects to outperform the FTSE 100 index by a worthwhile margin.

This fund should be a winner. It is well worth recommending it to clients looking for growth, who want a defensive portfolio likely to outperform.

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