Scottish Mortgage’s Anderson hits out at UK businesses


Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust fund manager James Anderson has hit out at the lack of opportunities in early stage British business, as he explains the fund’s increasing allocation to unquoted companies.

North America and China are instead the trust’s top geographies for unlisted companies, Anderson says.

His comments follow revelations this week that the investment trust was ramping up its allocation to private business, investing in furniture retailer Home24, Funding Circle, Airbnb, and US tradesman ratings service Thumbtack over the past six months.

Anderson, and co-manager Tom Slater, advised the £3.96bn trust was increasing its allocation to unquoted companies, but would cap it at 25 per cent of the portfolio, subject to FCA approval.

Speaking at an industry round table in Edinburgh, Anderson says Britain does not compete with Silicon Valley when it comes to recruiting top talent and says “it has been a long time since you had a great British company”.

“The problem with British companies is London. There people spend money, they don’t make investments. London has become an investment bank, it is dire,” he says.

Anderson says the fund sees opportunities in healthcare companies, such as Genentech, which is producing products to treat Alzheimer’s, and RNA therapeutics business Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, which he says has “capabilities to change the world”.

Anderson says the fund’s commitment to unlisted companies stem in part from the fact young companies are increasingly taking a longer time to IPO.