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Liontrust GF European Smaller Companies Fund

September 2023 review
Past performance does not predict future returns. You may get back less than you originally invested. Reference to specific securities is not intended as a recommendation to purchase or sell any investment.

The Fund’s A3 share class returned -1.9%* in euro terms in September. This Fund’s target benchmark, the MSCI Europe Small Cap Index, returned -2.8%.


The European Central Bank continued along its rate hiking path raising the deposit rate by 25 basis points to an all-time high of to 4%, marking 10 consecutive rate hikes. Both the Bank of England and US Federal Reserve chose to pause their rate-hike cycles during September, but forecasts from the Fed’s rate-setting committee led investors to expect fewer rate cuts from current levels over the next two years.


In terms of sector returns, energy (+7.3%) was a significant riser over the month, benefitting from higher oil prices after production was cut in Saudi Arabia and Russia. Communication services (1.2%) and financials (+1.2%) also posted a gain in euro terms. The weakest sectors in European markets were information technology (-5.9%), consumer discretionary (-5.7%), utilities (-4.1%), and consumer staples (-3.6%).


Looking at the portfolio’s largest stock-specific performance contributors and detractors over the month, few released significant updates to investors which would explain their share price moves. From a sector perspective, one notable trend was financial sector strength showing through in the portfolio in the form of gains for Bankinter (+4.4%), BPER Banca (+3.9%) and Bank of Ireland (+1.0%). Again, none of these stocks updated the market during September.


On the downside, tech sector weakness was also apparent in the share price falls of ATOSS Software (-12.7%), the workforce management software specialists, Paradox Interactive (-15%), a video game developer, and Playtech (-15%), the gambling software developer. Over the last couple of years the sector has proven very sensitive to changes to interest rate expectations as some of its high growth, high share price valuation constituents react to changing rates at which investors discount potential future growth. Rising medium-term rate expectations therefore presented a headwind to the sector in September.


Playtech slid despite releasing interim results which were in-line with expectations. The shares may have been held back by rumours that it was setting up a bid for the owner of PlanetWin365, an Italian company valued at around £500m. Later in the month Playtech confirmed its interest, as well as noting there were other potential suitors for the company, thought to include Flutter Entertainment.


We continue to be constructive on the outlook for European equity markets. The MSCI Europe remains in a clear uptrend and valuations are reasonable. Furthermore, our measure of corporate aggression has fallen significantly, which is usually a positive sign for markets.

From a style point of view we continue to expect that both value and momentum investment styles should perform well. Until its renaissance post Covid, value styles had endured a dreadful decade and currently the spread between the valuations of growth and value stocks – though less extreme than existed in mid 2020 – is still wide. Furthermore our measure of investor anxiety – a good barometer of the potential for value to perform – is not yet at the low levels that would cause us to be more cautious on value. High investor anxiety usually goes hand in hand with strong value performance. With regard to the momentum factor, our proprietary indicator of momentum efficacy is currently very constructive, suggesting a minimal likelihood of a momentum crash in Europe.

Positive contributors to performance included:

Fortnox (+6.0%), Bankinter (+4.4%) and BPER Banca (+3.9%).


Negative contributors to performance included:

Verallia (-16%), Paradox Interactive (-15%) and Playtech (-15%).


Discrete years' performance** (%), to previous quarter-end:

Past performance does not predict future returns







Liontrust GF European Smaller Companies A3 Acc EUR






MSCI Europe Small Cap









Liontrust GF European Smaller Companies A3 Acc EUR


MSCI Europe Small Cap


*Source: Financial Express, as at 30.09.23, total return (net of fees and income reinvested).

**Source: Financial Express, as at 30.09.23, total return (net of fees and income reinvested). Discrete data is not available for ten full 12-month periods due to the launch date of the portfolio (01.02.17). Investment decisions should not be based on short-term performance.


A Performance Fee for each Performance Period shall be equal to 10% of the amount, if any, by which the Net Asset Value before Performance Fee accrual of the Fund exceeds the Indexed Net Asset Value of the Fund on the last Business Day of the Performance Period. The Performance Period of the Fund is every 12 months ending on the last business day of each calendar year. Details of the Fund's performance fee in the last financial year can be found in the Key Investor Information Document (KIID) which can be obtained free of charge from the Liontrust website.


Key Features of the Liontrust GF European Smaller Companies Fund 


The investment objective of the Fund is to achieve long term capital growth by investing primarily in European smaller companies. The Fund may invest in all economic sectors in all parts of the world, although it is intended it will invest primarily in equities and equity related derivatives (i.e. total return swaps, futures and embedded derivatives) in European companies (including the UK and Switzerland). The majority of the assets of the Fund (more than 85%) are expected to be invested in smaller companies (with a market capitalisation of less than 5 billion euros at the time of the initial investment). In normal conditions, the Fund will aim to hold a diversified portfolio, although at times the Investment Adviser may decide to hold a more concentrated portfolio, and it is possible that a substantial portion of the Fund could be invested in cash or cash equivalents. The Fund may use FX forwards to hedge the Fund’s currency exposures. The Fund has both Hedged and Unhedged share classes available. The Hedged share classes use forward foreign exchange contracts to protect returns in the base currency of the Fund.
5 years or more.
5 (Please refer to the Fund KIID for further detail on how this is calculated)

The Fund is considered to be actively managed in reference to MSCI Europe Small -Cap Index net total return (the “Benchmark”) by virtue of the fact that it seeks to outperform the Benchmark. However the Benchmark is not used to define the portfolio composition of the Fund and the Fund may be wholly invested in securities which are not constituents of the Benchmark.
Understand common financial words and terms See our glossary

Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income generated from it can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. You may get back less than you originally invested.

The issue of units/shares in Liontrust Funds may be subject to an initial charge, which will have an impact on the realisable value of the investment, particularly in the short term. Investments should always be considered as long term.

Overseas investments may carry a higher currency risk. They are valued by reference to their local currency which may move up or down when compared to the currency of the Fund. This Fund may have a concentrated portfolio, i.e. hold a limited number of investments. If one of these investments falls in value this can have a greater impact on the Fund's value than if it held a larger number of investments. As the Fund is primarily exposed to smaller companies there may be liquidity constraints from time to time, i.e. in certain circumstances, the fund may not be able to sell a position for full value or at all in the short term. This may affect performance and could cause the fund to defer or suspend redemptions of its shares. In addition the spread between the price you buy and sell units will reflect the less liquid nature of the underlying holdings. Outside of normal conditions, the Fund may hold higher levels of cash which may be deposited with several credit counterparties (e.g. international banks). A credit risk arises should one or more of these counterparties be unable to return the deposited cash. Counterparty Risk: any derivative contract, including FX hedging, may be at risk if the counterparty fails.


This is a marketing communication. Before making an investment, you should read the relevant Prospectus and the Key Investor Information Document (KIID), which provide full product details including investment charges and risks. These documents can be obtained, free of charge, from www.liontrust.co.uk or direct from Liontrust. Always research your own investments. If you are not a professional investor please consult a regulated financial adviser regarding the suitability of such an investment for you and your personal circumstances.

This should not be construed as advice for investment in any product or security mentioned, an offer to buy or sell units/shares of Funds mentioned, or a solicitation to purchase securities in any company or investment product. Examples of stocks are provided for general information only to demonstrate our investment philosophy. The investment being promoted is for units in a fund, not directly in the underlying assets. It contains information and analysis that is believed to be accurate at the time of publication, but is subject to change without notice. Whilst care has been taken in compiling the content of this document, no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made by Liontrust as to its accuracy or completeness, including for external sources (which may have been used) which have not been verified. It should not be copied, forwarded, reproduced, divulged or otherwise distributed in any form whether by way of fax, email, oral or otherwise, in whole or in part without the express and prior written consent of Liontrust.

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