‘There is only one truly Bri­tish stock in the fund’

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE -

Fears are grow­ing that global stocks, which have per­formed so well of late, have peaked and may be due to fall. Many in­vestors, es­pe­cially in Bri­tain, are un­cer­tain about the out­come of Brexit and the con­se­quences of a “no deal”.

Cau­tious in­vestors may want to put their money with an equally cau­tious man­ager. Job Cur­tis, of the £1.5bn City of Lon­don in­vest­ment trust, is such a man­ager; his trust is one of Tele­graph Money’s top 10 “de­fen­sive” funds.

Here he ex­plains why he is not both­ered about Brexit, how banks have changed over the decade since the fi­nan­cial cri­sis and why he has in­vested in a cruise com­pany.

We in­vest mainly in Bri­tain, with about 70pc of the portfolio in the FTSE 100. We have some over­seas hold­ings and some in­vest­ments in smaller com­pa­nies, but we mainly like larger, div­i­dend-pay­ing stocks. We be­lieve in hav­ing a diversified portfolio with com­pa­nies that can grow and pay us an in­come at the same time. Con­sumer sta­ples such as Bri­tish Amer­i­can To­bacco, Unilever and Di­a­geo, the drinks maker, have all done very well for us re­cently.

We aim to ap­peal to people in re­tire­ment who want a grow­ing in­come. I am a fairly cau­tious char­ac­ter and that is re­flected in the portfolio. I try to pay a fair price for com­pa­nies that can of­fer a good div­i­dend and can af­ford to pay that div­i­dend; com­pa­nies that in­vest suf­fi­ciently in their own busi­ness. We try to avoid the clas­sic trap of com­pa­nies that over-ex­pand and can­not af­ford to pay share­hold­ers. We had very lit­tle money in banks in the pre-cri­sis pe­riod so we avoided some of the big losers. Now I am a lot

CV: Job Cur­tis

Mr Cur­tis, s, who works for r Janus Hen­der­son, on, has been man­ag­ing nag­ing money since nce 1987 and has 35 years of in­dus­try ry ex­pe­ri­ence ce in to­tal. He has an MA in pol­i­tics, li­tics, phi­los­o­phy hy more pos­i­tive and we have about 8pc of the fund in the sec­tor. Both HSBC and Lloyds are in our top 10 hold­ings. They have re­built them­selves and are trad­ing at a slight dis­count be­cause of the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing Brexit.

I bought back into Lloyds a few years ago and have been build­ing my po­si­tion. It has not per­formed that well but it pays a de­cent yield of about 5pc, so the bank is pay­ing us to be pa­tient. In­ter­est rate rises are good for the banks and if we get a “soft Brexit” we may well see rates go up fur­ther, which should fuel growth in the sec­tor. Bar­clays is cheap, rel­a­tive to the net value of its as­sets, and is an­other one I think looks in­ter­est­ing.

Vet­eran fund man­ager Job Cur­tis ex­plains to Harry Bren­nan how his ‘UK’ portfolio is ac­tu­ally in­ter­na­tional

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