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Star fund manager reduces stake in direct lending fund

The longest serving fund manager in the investment trust world has trimmed his position in another portfolio.

Fund manager Peter Spiller has decreased his stake in the £90m RM Secured Direct Lending investment trust.

Spiller, who heads up the £212m Capital Gearing portfolio – also an investment trust, increased his stake in the RM portfolio from £6.8m to £5.8m or 6.43 per cent of the total shares from 7.56 per cent.

RM Secured Direct Lending fund launched in December 2016, invests in secured debt of UK SMEs and mid-market corporates.  In its first year the fund has gone back to the market to raise new cash, closing a £30m C share issue in recent months.

The proceeds of the new cash raise are nearly all utilised with over £15m deployed and a further £7m committed The fund’s ‘extensive pipeline’ of would-be borrowers means the Investment Manager expects to have the proceeds from the C share issue to be substantially deployed on a cash basis by the end of February.

Peter Spiller has managed his closed ended fund for more than 35 years – making him the longest serving investment trust manager, is well-known for his capital preservation skills. He massively outperformed the 2007-9 financial crisis as well as the 2000-3 bear market. Since 2011 Alastair Laing has also been listed as co-manager.

The trust’s performance over the past 22 years (as as the data goes back) totals 812 per cent – bet of fees – compared to 463 per cent total return from the FTSE All Share index.  He has somewhat of a reputation as an activist investor particularly in the investment trust world. 

Performance of Capital Gearing vs the  FTSE All Share Index since 1995

Source: FE Analytics

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