Three books for UK investors

Lawrence Gosling reviews a book for investment trust investors to dip into, a diary of a contrarian fund manager and a financial history from a top stock picker.

 Investment Trusts Handbook

The Investment Trusts Handbook 2019

Jonathan Davis (editor)

The Investment Trusts Handbook is what you would call an annual in old money, but given it is a book about investment trusts there is a lot more in there than in a traditional annual.

This is an excellent book for the new or experienced investment trust investor. There are a number of excellent chapters for the investor who does not consider themselves too experienced on how to analyse trusts including one on Venture Capital Trusts, which have grown in importance and popularity in the last five years because of the tax breaks.

There are some excellent interviews with some of the managers of the trusts including the veteran Peter Spiller of the Capital Gearing trust and the ‘youngster’ Kartik Kumar, only 28 years old, who runs the Artemis Alpha trust.

This is a book for investors to keep on the shelf and dip into when researching a specific trust or just learning more about the way professionals manager money.

Well worth the money in my opinion, and the equivalent in price of one trade at £24.99, which if you make one better decision as a result of reading it will be a good investment.

RP: £24.99. Published by Harriman House. ISBN: 978-0857197368 (hardback).

Diary of a Fund Manager – What I Write About When I Write About Investment

David Miller

For the past four years David Miller, the investment director of Quilter Cheviot, the wealth manager, has been writing a weekly investment diary. Far from being a ‘teenage scribbler’, Miller is erudite, insightful, amusing and sometimes provocative.

He has a lovely, easy writing style, he does not wallow in investment jargon, and is not afraid to tackle politics and the role it plays in investment decisions.

Some might call Miller a contrarian because he takes the time to step back and look at investment markets in a few way of his peers do. Even the sub-title to the book – What I Write About When I Write About Investment – is a nod to a writer not associated with financial issues, the prolific Japanese writer Murakami.

There are 100 columns in this paperback, all two pages long so this is a simple and delightful book to dip in and out of, and there are some great lessons for anyone, no matter how experienced or in experienced they might be.

RRP: £9.99. Published by Dorling Kindersley. ISBN: 978-0-241388051 (paperback).

The Stock Picker – A Financial History from the Sharp End

Paul Mumford

Paul Mumford has been running the Cavendish Opportunities Fund making him one of the longest serving fund managers anywhere in the UK, and his returns match his longevity.

He is far from a household name, but he is a brilliant example of a stock picker. Mumford’s knowledge of companies is exceptional and this book is a wonderful history of his 50 years as a professional investor and stockbroker.

For readers of a similar age you will be reminded of companies you have long forgotten about because they have either been taken over or gone bust. All the way through Mumford shares some fascinating anecdotes and insights into to finding undervalued companies and making a good return for his investors.

You always realise that over time history does repeat itself and the financial crisis of a decade ago has echoes in previous decades. Mumford’s great investing skill is his open- mindedness and he appears to never dismiss any UK company in any sector until he understands.

A thoroughly interesting read in terms of investment lessons and investment history.

Published by Harriman House. ISBN: 978-0857195548 (hardback).

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