WS Amati UK Listed Smaller Companies B Acc


April 2024
 
  • Square Mile rating
  • Risk of asset class
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  • Ongoing charges
    0.86%
    Transaction costs
    0.22%
    Total cost of investment
    1.08%

Source: Square Mile and Refinitiv, Data as at: 31st March 2024.


Overview

The focus of the fund is on growing the capital value of investments over time through a portfolio of small sized, UK listed companies. Whilst equities can lose money over short to medium time periods, over longer time periods, and particularly over multiple investment cycles, equities, in aggregate, have proved an extremely successful way of accumulating capital.

 

Square Mile’s Expected Outcome

We believe outperformance of the Deutsche Numis Smaller Companies plus AIM (ex Investment Companies) index by 3% per annum over rolling five year periods, is a reasonable expectation.


Square Mile’s Opinion

Although not a household name, Amati Global Investors (AGI) has forged a sound reputation as a specialist UK smaller companies asset manager. The firm has experienced some corporate uncertainty over the past few years, however, we believe that the current arrangement of being supported by a larger, cornerstone investor, whilst the majority of the business is owned by its staff members, sets AGI on a firm footing for the future. We view this as a sensibly managed business that has grown in a gradual and pragmatic manner, in terms of investment in technology and through the addition of further investment teams to broaden the firm's offering.

Although AGI was established in 2010, the fund's history pre-dates this by 10 years. Indeed, the firm's CEO, Dr Paul Jourdan, has been involved with its management since 2000. Since forming the business, Dr Jourdan has introduced further fund managers on to this strategy and whilst there has been some departures to the team over the years (the most recent being Anna Macdonald in April 2023) the current triumvirate of managers - Dr Jourdan, David Stevenson (recruited in 2012) and Scott McKenzie (who joined in 2021) appear to relish the highly collegiate working environment.

As the architect of the approach, Dr Jourdan, has developed a sensible investment process in what is a less well researched and potentially volatile area of the market. The emphasis on higher quality companies with robust balance sheets should mean the fund holds up well during periods of market stress. Although this could mean that it may lag an aggressively rising market, particularly when lower quality companies are leading the way. Overall, we feel this is a compelling proposition within the UK smaller companies space and we consider the portfolio managers to be excellent stewards of capital and investors who are highly attuned to their clients' needs.


Fund Manager’s Formal Objective

The Fund aims to provide long term capital growth over periods of five years or longer.

Capital Accumulation UK
Active Numis Smaller Companies + AIM (Ex ITs)
Equity IA UK Smaller Companies
2.48% £402 M
David Stevenson, Gareth Blades, Paul Jourdan, Scott McKenzie March, September
11.4 Pounds Semi-annual
GBP 29/07/2008
11.4 Pounds 31/01/2024
0.00% -
- -

Source: Square Mile and Refinitiv, Data as at: 31st March 2024

 
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WS Amati UK Listed Smaller Companies B Acc
 
 

Asset Manager Overview

Amati Global Investors (AGI) is an Edinburgh-based investment boutique that specialises in the analysis and management of UK smaller companies. AGI was formed in January 2010 when its CEO and one this fund's three managers, Dr Paul Jourdan, launched the business having undertaken a buy-out from his former employers, Noble Group. AGI is 49% owned by AIM-listed, Mattoli Woods, with the remainder primarily owned by AGI staff members and their families. 

Fund Manager/Team Overview

Dr Jourdan has a long association with this strategy having managed the fund since 2000. He was joined by fellow managers, David Stevenson, in 2012, and Scott McKenzie, in 2021. Both are experienced investors having joined AGI from Cartesian Capital and Saracen Fund Managers respectively. We would highlight that the addition of Mr McKenzie as a named manager was in recognition of the need for further resource given the increase in assets following the strategy. The fund managers are also supported by analyst Dr Gareth Blades, who joined the firm in 2019.

Investment Philosophy & Process Overview

The investment approach employed has been built to support the firm's philosophy that superior returns can be achieved by investing in high quality companies and holding them for the long term. The investable universe is reduced through an initial screen that considers factors such as each company's cash return on capital, how much of its revenues are converted into cash, its level of debt and if its earnings can grow by at least 10% pa. The team can also introduce further ideas by drawing on its work with young and very small companies through its management of Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs), as well as a list of trusted brokers. The initial screens and other sources of ideas greatly reduces the list of potential investment to around 300 companies. In keeping with the team's mantra of investing into quality companies a great deal of emphasis is placed on a firm's competitive advantage, its business lines, if it has pricing power and an incentivised management team that has a good track record of sensibly allocating capital. Balance sheet and cashflow analysis are integral parts of the stock selection process with the aim to ensure that companies are financed appropriately for the nature and cyclicality of their underlying businesses. The team also believes that engagement with company management is key and retain a close level of dialogue with management teams. This includes regular updates, site visits and telephone calls.

The final portfolio is typically invested across 60-70 holdings, although this can vary depending on the managers opinions of opportunities in the market, and bears little resemblance to the fund's benchmark, the Deutsche Numis Smaller Companies plus AIM (ex investment companies) index. New ideas entering the portfolio are scrutinised by the other team members and are debated with the proposing manager having to be supported on the idea by at least one of the other managers. Position sizing is based on conviction, with new holdings tending to enter the portfolio at 1-2% allocations, which can be lifted to 4% depending on liquidity. Maximum stock exposures are limited to 5%. The managers aim to remain fully invested throughout, but do adjust the portfolio to take advantage of, or to protect from, macroeconomic and/or political issues.

The fund is managed with a long term view and sales are generally made when the original investment thesis no longer applies, when an idea offering a superior risk adjusted return replaces an incumbent position, when there has been a deterioration of governance within a business or when a company is no longer within the investible universe, for example if it becomes too large.

 
 
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WS Amati UK Listed Smaller Companies B Acc
 
 

ESG Integration

Asset Manager ESG Integration

Amati Global Investors (AGI) have been signatories to the UK Stewardship Code since 2010 and became a signatory of the UN Principles of Responsible Investment (UN PRI) in December 2018. It was awarded a score of 4 out of 5 for Investment & Stewardship Policy at its last review. AGI supports a range of charities through donating 10% of its post-tax profits to UK registered organisations.AGI is a boutique asset management firm that follows a single investment approach and considers environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors within its investment process. The analysis of these factors falls into the remit of the group's investment team. AGI's boutique structure means they can be nimble in some areas, as it is easier for their process to be fully implemented throughout a firm. However, they have more limited resources than many asset managers which may be a challenge their ability to demonstrate their credentials in this area particularly with the increasing regulatory demands.Given that the firm specialises in investing into the UK smaller companies space, there is a significant level of engagement with both investee and potential investee companies. The issue of remuneration is an important area of engagement and is particularly pertinent to corporate governance. Environmental and social aspects are also addressed, for example, when interacting with commodity-related companies on pertinent issues, such as environmental degradation. AGI also view human rights as its own separate category and therefore look at each company from an ESGH perspective. The focus from a human rights sphere is to look at companies supply chains and the levels of freedom and commitment to human rights in the countries of operation.In 2022, they established a more formal framework for looking at ESG factors, and this acts as an input to the research process and helps them analyse risk more clearly. This formal framework has continued to progress, and in-depth reports are now conducted on all the companies that they invest in.AGI will vote on each company it invests in and publishes quarterly voting records on its website. Voting is undertaken by the investment team rather than outsourced as they believe it requires a genuine knowledge of each company. The firm tends to vote against management less than their peers. This is a function of the fact they invest in smaller companies, where at times they can be large shareholders, and tend to express their views directly with management and the board where they believe it has the more influence.

 

Fund ESG Integration

This fund is not run to an explicit environmental, social or governance (ESG) mandate, however, these factors are incorporated within the investment process. The investment team is fully aware of its responsibilities as a shareholder and seeks to be a positive influence on the companies it invests in. It also expects high standards in relation to ESG factors from company executives, as these are felt to be in the best long-term interests of all shareholders.

The team does not produce proprietary ESG scores, rather it uses data from external data provider, Refinitiv, as a source of company information, including the analysis of carbon footprints and other metrics related to ESG factors. This information is then incorporated into the team's fundamental company analysis.

 
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WS Amati UK Listed Smaller Companies B Acc
 
 

Risk Summary

This is an equity based fund investing in UK-listed smaller companies. The fund will be exposed to moves in the stock market and investing in smaller companies can carry heightened liquidity risks. Although we note the managers are long-term, through market cycle investors, the fund's returns may see increased levels volatility over short time periods. Furthermore, in May 2021 the firm took the decision to stop actively marketing the fund to new clients, as the success of the strategy had led to a rapid increase in the level of assets. The size of the overall strategy is something to remain aware of, especially given the lower amounts of liquidity generally found in the underlying asset class. Amati Global Investors, however, are monitoring and managing this carefully, and given the fund's increased allocation to larger sized smaller companies, we are comfortable with the present situation.

 

Additional Information

-10.81%
14.30%
-44.73%
10.12%
-13.11%
-0.02
-0.73

(3 years data to last month end unless otherwise stated)

Qualitative Risk Assessment

Significant Potentially Significant Not Significant

For the full summary of the risks, click here

 
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WS Amati UK Listed Smaller Companies B Acc
 
 

3 Year Rolling Sector Outperformance

Source: Square Mile and Refinitiv, Data as at: 18th April 2024. Share price total return.

 

Maximum Drawdown (Rolling 12 Months)

Source: Square Mile and Refinitiv, Data as at: 8th April 2024

 

Calendar Year Performance To Quarter End

Period Fund (%) Sector (%)
2023 -7.3 0.0
2022 -26.0 -25.7
2021 13.1 22.9
2020 8.9 7.3
2019 30.3 26.2

Source: Square Mile and Refinitiv, Data as at: 14th April 2024


Value for Money

Although the fund's ongoing charge figure (OCF) is below the peer group average, its transaction costs (a further expense not represented in the OCF) are significantly above. This leads to a total cost of investment (TCI) which is slightly higher than that of the peer group average, however, given the quality of this proposition we believe this fund represents good value for money.

Furthermore, in line with the MiFID II regulations, asset management firms are required to disclose all of the costs and charges related to the running and administration of their funds, including items outside of the OCF, such as research costs. Unlike a number of asset management houses, Amati Global Investors do not absorb all of the costs associated with its research, which slightly increases the overall fee paid by investors.

OCF v Peer Group

0.86%
Transaction Costs v Peer Group

0.22%
TCI v Peer Group

1.08%

Source: Square Mile and Refinitiv, Data as at: 31st March 2024.

 
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WS Amati UK Listed Smaller Companies B Acc
 
 

 

The Square Mile ratings are reviewed every 6 months. For full details on the methodologies, click here.

For a full list of all Square Mile rated funds, click here.

Disclaimer

This document is issued by Square Mile Investment Consulting and Research Limited which is registered in England and Wales (08791142) and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Titan Wealth Holdings Limited (Registered Address: 101 Wigmore Street, London, W1U 1QU).

Unless otherwise agreed by Square Mile, this factsheet is only for internal use by the permitted recipients and shall not be published or be provided to any third parties. This factsheet is for the use of professional advisers and other regulated firms only and should not be relied upon by any other persons. It is published by, and remains the copyright of, Square Mile Investment Consulting and Research Ltd (“SM”). SM makes no warranties or representations regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein. This information represents the views and forecasts of SM at the date of issue but may be subject to change without reference or notification to you. SM does not offer investment advice or make recommendations regarding investments and nothing in this factsheet shall be deemed to constitute financial or investment advice in any way and shall not constitute a regulated activity for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. This factsheet shall not constitute or be deemed to constitute an invitation or inducement to any person to engage in investment activity. Should you undertake any investment activity based on information contained herein, you do so entirely at your own risk and SM shall have no liability whatsoever for any loss, damage, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by you as a result. SM does not accept any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistencies herein. Unless indicated, all figures are sourced by Lipper, a Refinitiv Company (all rights reserved). Past performance is not a guide to future returns.

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