Married to Sam, daughter Bella (25) and son Charlie (21)
Business Studies graduate
STARTED AT JM FINN & CO
Senior Investment Manager
Skiing, cycling, watching rugby, music
As the manager of IHT mitigating portfolios, you are limited to investing in UK equities only; what’s your current view on the UK equity market?
Generally I am optimistic; in spite of the ongoing political uncertainty following the Brexit vote many companies are growing strongly and look attractive investments. As with the main market, certain stocks on AIM look very fully valued but the beauty of AIM is that it is under-researched and there are always good opportunities around.
How did you end up managing AIM portfolios?
I began managing retail smaller company funds in the late ‘80s and then when AIM launched in 1995 I started to concentrate on tax efficient private client portfolios, including for the purposes of reducing IHT.
Your core investable universe is the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) – how has AIM developed over your career and where do you see the pitfalls?
AIM used to have a somewhat poor reputation but over the last few years the regulatory controls have been significantly improved which, when combined with recent innovations such as ISA eligibility and the removal of Stamp Duty, have hugely improved the perception and credibility of the AIM. There will still be problem companies but the key, as always, is to use one’s experience to pick the right stocks and limit the downside. Of course, the nature of the market means AIM stocks are high risk investments, which is why my clients look to me to manage such portfolios on their behalf.
What are you looking for in an AIM-listed stock?
Our criteria are pretty straightforward; we look for experienced management teams running established, pro table, cash-generative, financially strong and dividend paying businesses with good prospects for growth.
How do you determine when to sell a stock?
This is always the most difficult discipline but I am a great believer in backing the right businesses and sticking with them for the long-term. I try to sell if/when a company has exhausted its growth opportunities but in many cases this never happens. Of course, if they are too successful and get promoted to the main market, then we become forced sellers as the stock would no longer qualify for Business Property Relief (BPR) and therefore be liable to IHT.