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UK equity star Widdowson takes compassionate leave from start-up

UK equity star Widdowson takes compassionate leave from start-up

Star UK equity manager Stuart Widdowson, who exited GVQ Investment in early 2017 to launch his own asset management business last year, is to take three months compassionate leave, the company said.

In a statement, Odyssean Capital said Widdowson (pictured) would be taking the break from the beginning of April in order to ‘work through health issues in his family’.

The company last year raised just short of £90 million for the Odyssean trust, defying market gloom that scuppered or sharply scaled back a number of other high profile attempted trust launches.

At the time, Widdowson said: ‘Successful fundraising in a challenging market demonstrates the level of demand for our limited capacity, conviction-based, long-term strategy, and we are pleased to have attracted such a diverse list of shareholders.’

Widdowson and co-manager Edward Wielechowski run Odyssean using the same private equity techniques Widdowson used on the previously top-performing Strategic Equity Capital trust (SEC) he ran at GVQ, concentrating on smaller companies outside the FTSE 250 index.

Wielechowski will take over Widdowson’s responsibilities in his absence, although he will continue to chair the research and investment committees, with additional support from trust chair Ian Armitage.

Over a seven-year period under Widdowson, SEC delivered a total return on net assets of 377% and a total shareholder return of 508%, beating its smaller company index benchmarks.

In a statement, the trust said it was confident that the measures ‘will ensure that [Odyssean’s] capital will continued to be managed in accordance with the same principles and strategy… Stuart looks forward to returning to the business as soon as possible’.

The trust offers a focused portfolio, with the top 10 of its 25 holdings accounting for most of the assets. No company will exceed 15% of NAV at the time of investment and up to 20% of gross assets can be invested in unquoted companies.

The company noted that the trust, which launched in May 2018, is now 78% invested.

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