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Lawrence House emerges from cash shelter

Lawrence House has brought down the cash levels on all its funds to within the normal 2 to 3 per cent range from August highs of almost 10 per cent.

The company had allowed cash to build up to 9.8 per cent in the equity income portfolio, 8.5 per cent in its cautious portfolio and 5 per cent in the balanced portfolio in anticipation of a market correction.

It saw the fallout from the subsequent credit crunch as a buying opportunity and has spent the last month adding new holdings.

Fund manager Alan Stokes is making further reductions to the cash weighting in the cautious managed fund and is adding a number of fixed-interest funds this week, subject to fund manager interviews.

Stokes has also added the BlackRock Merrill Lynch UK income fund to the Lawrence House equity income portfolio. He bought the fund the day after it sold out of Northern Rock and Alliance & Leicester and says its barbell approach will complement his other equity income holdings.

William Calvert’s Axa Framlington emerging markets fund is the latest purchase Stokes has made for the Lawrence House balanced managed portfolio. Stokes has a 3 per cent holding in this fund which he has held in other portfolios since 2004.

Stokes says: “We needed to increase the risk within the balanced managed fund. William Calvert has a consistent track record and we have done very well with him over the years, more than any other emerging markets manager.

“In one portfolio, I top-sliced the fund when he made 120 per cent for me, then had to top-slice it again. He has a low-risk approach to running the fund and I always feel comfortable that he knows what he is doing. He does not want to be risk averse but risk aware.”


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