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The popular new investment trust reveals significant US bias to portfolio
Thursday 06 Dec 2018 Author: Tom Sieber

The UK’s biggest ever investment trust launch Smithson (SSON) has unveiled its top holdings and the stocks which have contributed to its performance since making its stock market debut on 19 October.

Strong demand from private investors saw an initial targeted fundraise of £250m raised to £600m and in the end the trust, which is focused on mid and small cap stocks, secured £822.5m.

This fundraising achievement reflected the popularity of fund manager Terry Smith who has delivered strong returns for investors from his flagship Fundsmith Equity (B41YBW7) fund.

More than 97% of Smithson’s net proceeds have already been put to work in the market. The accompanying table shows that 10 biggest positions out of a portfolio of 29 stocks.

UK investors should be familiar with property listings site Rightmove (RMV) and health, safety and regulations-led electronics equipment supplier Halma (HLMA), which is a constituent of SharesGreat Ideas portfolio.

There are also a significant number of overseas stocks in the Smithson portfolio, nearly half of which is invested in the US, including in top holding Verisk Analytics.

The 2009 stock market debut from New Jersey-headquartered data analysis and risk assessment firm Verisk was backed by, among others, legendary investor Warren Buffett through his Berkshire Hathaway vehicle which originally founded the group back in the 1970s.

Buffett sold his holding earlier this year as the company, whose main business involves crunching data for the insurance sector, enjoyed a strong run from its IPO (initial public offering).

Looking at other US stocks held by Smithson, Texas airline bookings platform Sabre is also in the top 10 as is credit checking outfit Equifax and auto dealer software firm CDK Global.

The trust, steered by Simon Barnard with the support of Smith, has held up well amid global stock market volatility, with its net asset value (NAV) falling 0.6% since inception. Its shares are trading just above the £10 issue price, at around a 5% premium to NAV.

The top five contributors to performance in November were Australian software company Technology One, US domain name specialist Verisign, specialist engineering simulation expert Ansys, Sabre and Verisk Analytics.

The top five detractors were Danish asset management IT provider Simcorp, CDK Global, Domino’s Pizza Group (DOM), Domino’s Pizza Enterprises and bioscience group Chr. Hansen.

DISCLAIMER: Editor Daniel Coatsworth has a personal investment in Smithson and Fundsmith Equity referenced in this article

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