By Ruth Alexander The management of Murray Enterprise is to continue under John Johnston following ...
By Ruth Alexander
The management of Murray Enterprise is to continue under John Johnston following the board's decision to switch its management contract to LeggMason Investors from Murray Johnstone.
Under Johnston, who joined LeggMason on 1 November, the investment trust was the top performer in its sector over the year to 8 November 2000. It beat 32 other trusts to the top position in the UK Smaller Companies sector, returning 168.7%, on a mid to mid share price basis, which compares to the sector average return of 40.8%.
Over a period of three years to 8 November 2000, the trust returned 266.7.9%, on an mid to mid basis, ranking it second out of 28.
Lindsay Firth-McGuckin, marketing director at LeggMason Investors, said: "The company's board of directors decided to move the fund back under John's management because the shareholders had seen such performance when it was under his care."
Johnston said he intends to run the portfolio exactly as he did when he was at Murray Johnstone. The aim of the trust is to achieve a high total return over the long term through investment in a diversified portfolio.
Johnston said he will invest in those companies which show sure signs of emerging growth. He said: "I will be investing in small, fast-flowing companies. My aim is to identify those small companies that are going to be big. This growth must not be fantasy, though; it must be real and achievable."
The closed end fund's portfolio holds between 50 and 60 stocks, and its largest positions are likely to include Autonomy, Indigo Vision, Surfcontrol and Medisys.
Johnston particularly favours Autonomy, which he said has grown 70 times since he first bought it for the Murray Enterprise trust. Having left the Enterprise trust less than two months ago, Johnston said it is unlikely that the portfolio will have undergone significant changes in his absence.
He said he is unaware of any large structural changes having been made to it during its short time under the management of Mark Webster. To the end of September 2000, the portfolio's three largest holdings were Autonomy, Surfcontrol and IndigoVision, with the Medisys as the seventh largest positions.
Johnston also ran the Murray TMT trust, which was the result of the restructuring in May 2000 of the Murray Venture Capital Investment Trust.
The board of the global technology trust has not indicated it is likely to move the management away from Murray Johnstone. Over the past couple of weeks Johnston has taken over the running of the Slater Growth unit trust. It has since been renamed the LeggMason UK Emerging Growth fund. Firth-McGuckin said the management of Murray Enterprise will be handed over to LeggMason Investors as soon as is practical, probably in a matter of weeks.
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