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Special brew

Giles Hargreave, manager of Marlborough special situations fund, has by far the best record of any UK fund manager. Since he started running the fund in 1998, it has risen in value by 862 per cent compared with a sector average of 135 per cent, turning a £1,000 investment into £8,620.

At the beginning of July, the fund was the top performer over five years and second over the past year. Over five years, it is up by 263 per cent compared with 220 per cent for the second-best fund. The average in the smaller companies sector over the same period is 118 per cent. The fund has risen by over 40 per cent in the last year.

Hargreave is also way ahead of all 222 funds in the UK equity sector, where the best performer is up by only 182 per cent over five years.

Hargreave and his team at Hargreave Hale cover a very wide range of smaller companies and manage to find a lot of companies which have performed exceptionally well. His biggest holding is spread betting company London Capital Group Holdings, which only deals online and therefore has low overheads and can afford to give a narrower spread than its competitors. Its market share is rising rapidly, as are its profits.

Other big holdings are Charter, which makes welding equipment, mainly selling in China, Domino’s Pizza and Air Partner.

Giles expects the stockmarket to remain highly volatile but this often means that good shares are oversold and present good buying opportunities. The special situations fund can be classed as more risky than some others because of the wide spread of companies in which it invests but I believe the risk is minimal, provided the stockmarket as a whole does not implode.

Anyone looking for a long-time growth investment should invest in this outstanding fund which is still only £189m in size.

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