Gervais Williams manages a number of funds at Premier Miton, including The Diverse Income Trust. At a time when the world is moving on from the credit boom and the era of cheap money, Gervais is a strong believer that UK companies which tend to be more old school, capital intensive and lean towards paying a dividend will fare well as global asset allocators seek returns in an environment of higher interest rates. While acknowledging that the economic outlook is challenging, he makes the case that this is when listed companies can prosper. He finds UK valuations compelling, claiming that the UK is trading at about one-third of the S&P 500’s price to book. To find winners, he looks for resilient businesses with excellent customer service, which he illustrated by discussing XPS Pensions Group (XPS.L, market capitalisation £342m) and Man Group (EMG.L, market capitalisation £3.3bn). He believes that the stronger financial position of listed companies will afford them the opportunity to pick up assets, illustrated by Next (NXT.L, market capitalisation £8.8bn) acquiring Made.com out of administration.
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