Victoria Stevens

Victoria Stevens reflects on three years co-managing Liontrust UK Micro Cap

Victoria Stevens

Liontrust UK Micro Cap 3 Years


Q: How has the experience of launching and managing a fund measured up against your expectations?

A: Had we been given a blank canvas to go out and populate a portfolio with companies from scratch, it would have been challenging. Instead, we benefited from inheriting the incredibly well defined and rigorous Liontrust Economic Advantage investment process, and this gave structure and purpose to all our investment decisions from the moment the Fund was launched.


Q: And how does it compare to your previous role?

A: As a sell-side broker, my job was to develop a company’s investment case and promote it to specific investors. Because I represented a wide range of companies, I had to be flexible in how I assessed them so I could identify investors whose approach matched the companies’ varying investment characteristics. In my role at Liontrust, I have been able to turn the tables; I now scour the market for companies that are appropriate to our team’s own specific investment approach, which I have found much more satisfying.


Q: What has been the biggest surprise or challenge over the last three years?

A: We knew that the launch of the Fund would place huge demands on us, but I think we’ve still been slightly surprised by just how many different parties need your time. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt in the three years is to try to take time out regularly and create ‘head space’ in which to reflect and think.


These days there is so much data and research readily available that you couldn’t possibly look at everything that comes across your desk. The stock market can be an extremely ‘noisy’ environment, and as a fund manager you are constantly bombarded with information. The challenge is to tune out the noise – only by allowing yourself that space will you put yourself in the best position to make good decisions for the long term.


Anthony Cross and Julian Fosh have been invaluable in this respect, helping Matt Tonge and I to understand how to distil a huge amount of information and data down to what actually matters.


Q: Can you identify any other key lessons learnt from running the Fund?

A: Nearly every company we meet with will pitch us a bull story for their company and shares which sounds very compelling if taken at face value. Unfortunately, we know that not every company can be a success; this is possibly truer at the micro cap end of the market than higher up the market cap scale. These companies are at an early stage in their development and attempting to grow at rapid rates. There can be a big difference in rewards between those that are successful in executing their plans and those that fail. Developing a slightly cynical edge when hearing a company’s sales pitch has therefore been a necessity given the responsibility that goes with investing individuals’ savings.


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Key Risks


Past performance is not a guide to future performance. Do remember that the value of an investment and the income generated from them can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed, therefore, you may not get back the amount originally invested and potentially risk total loss of capital. Some of the Funds managed by the Economic Advantage team invest primarily in smaller companies and companies traded on the Alternative Investment Market.  These stocks may be less liquid and the price swings greater than those in, for example, larger companies. The performance of the  GF UK Growth Fund may differ from the performance of the  UK Growth Fund and will be lower than its corresponding Master Fund due to additional fees and expenses.




The information and opinions provided 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.  Always research your own investments and (if you are not a professional or a financial adviser) consult suitability with a regulated financial adviser before investing.

Friday, March 8, 2019, 11:02 AM