By Robert Stock Capel Cure Sharp is to install Daniel Nickols as lead manager of its UK Smaller Com...
By Robert Stock
Capel Cure Sharp is to install Daniel Nickols as lead manager of its UK Smaller Companies Fund following the departure of Simon Smith to venture capital firm Springboard Plc on 1 January.
Smith, who has headed the fund since its launch in 1991, decided to join Springboard, which is an Aim-listed company investing a pool of assets raised by issuing shares in new ventures, after failing to convince CCS to launch a venture capital trust.
Smith told Investment Week that part of his role at Springboard could involve the launch of a retail venture capital trust, a proposition which was raised prior to him agreeing to join the firm.
Nickols worked under Smith since May 1998 when he moved into the UK smaller companies team managing the CCS UK Smaller Companies Fund.
He will be supported by Louise Richardson who joined Smith's team in October 1997.
Smith said: "I always said that after 10 years I would stop managing the smaller companies fund and over the last couple of years we have been working towards this situation. They have been taking over sector responsibility and a greater responsibility for the analysis work. This is just a natural progression, continuity rather than evolution."
He said that recent increases in valuations, though now largely unwound, had caused concern for him and said that he did not enjoy investing in increasingly large companies that constitute the small cap arena.
Standard & Poor's Fund Research has not put the fund's frAA-rating under review. James Tew, director of research at Standard & Poor's Fund Research, said that depending on the assessment of Smith's replacements such a move might not be necessary.
He said that a note had, however, been sent to S&P subscribers notifying them of the imminent change.
According to CCS under Smith's stewardship the fund grew to £220m and up to the start of November the fund had achieved growth of over 464% on an offer to offer basis with net income reinvested. That was 137% ahead of the average fund in its sector and 236% ahead of the Hoare Govett Smaller Companies Index.
Mark Melling, marketing director of Springboard, said: "Simon's understanding of businesses and his knowledge of sectors, particularly some of the new areas of technology, is going to be very helpful to us in terms of making investment decisions.
"He has a wide knowledge of the quoted sector which will also be useful as many of our businesses are looking to floatation as one stage in their development as businesses."
Barry Russell, director of investment at CCS, said: "from Simon's point of view this is purely a career development move. He has managed the fund since launch in early 1991 and built up a big reputation."
He said that part of Smith's investment process involved tracking pre-quoted companies to launch and the fund currently holds a number of positions that CCS had followed in this way. He said that there would be no changes to the way that the fund was run.
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