Fund to watch: Old Mutual UK Select Smaller Companies fund

Old Mutual UK Select Smaller Companies fund has been one of the best performers in the IMA UK Smaller Companies sector over the past decade, with a return of 367% in the 10 years to 13 September 2012, according to figures compiled by Morningstar.

This is considerably better than the 210% return achieved by the average fund in the sector over this period and means it is ranked third out of 33 rivals.

For the vast majority of this period the man at the helm has been Daniel Nickols, who took the reins of the fund back in 2004 and was appointed head of the company's UK mid & small cap team in January 2009.

Wide range of industries

The stated aim of the fund is to provide capital growth from investing primarily in a portfolio of UK smaller companies. These names hail from a wide cross-section of industries, which means it enjoys good levels of diversification, according to the latest fund fact sheet.

The top 10 holdings in the fund, which account for just under 25% of assets under management, include Telecity Group, a provider of data centres; house builder Bellway, software firm Anite; and AVEVA, the engineering software provider.

Industrials represent the largest share of assets under management, with 25.5% - followed by the 18.5% in consumer services. The other areas represented include oil and gas, basic materials and consumer goods.

In recent weeks, Nickols has invested in Beazley - a specialist insurer he believes is cheap and largely uncorrelated to the wider equity market - and Telecom Plus, which he views as a structural growth business.

Fund details

Telephone: 0808 100 8808
Fund manager: Daniel Nickols
Launch date: February 2001
Total fund size: £451.6 million
Initial charge: 4%
Annual management fee: 1.75%
Minimum investment: £1,000, min savings plan £250
Performance fee: No

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