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Julian Gibbs

I recently suggested that smaller companies may become the best-perform-ing UK sector over the next year. One particularly attractive fund, Old Mutual UK select smaller companies, is managed by Ashton Bradbury.

When he was with Hill Samuel over a period of about four years, he was top of his sector, producing a return of 189 per cent compared with a 73 per cent rise in the smaller companies index over the same period.

He also managed the HSBC UK smaller companies fund for a couple of years and again was the top performer in his sector, outperforming the index by nearly 50 per cent.

Bradbury is now also managing the new Old Mutual UK select mid-cap trust jointly with Richard Moore, whose speciality has been managing big and medium-sized companies.

Moore&#39s track record is almost as good. For 10 years, he managed the National Mutual UK equity fund. It rose by 280 per cent – fourth out of 103 funds – outperforming the FTSE All Share index by a substantial margin.

The mid-cap proportion of the market offers a lot to an active investment manager. The FTSE 250 mid-cap index is far more diversified than the FTSE 100, with five sectors adding up to around 45 per cent of the index while the top five in the FTSE 100 account for 66 per cent of the index.

Mid-cap and smaller companies do particularly well when the global economy recovers. Both Bradbury and Moore look for companies which have shown a consistently superior performance, positive earnings and have a potential for a rerating.

They are aiming to provide a return of at least 3 per cent greater, after charges, than the FTSE 250. I believe they will easily achieve this return.

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