piworld 2020 round up of the year: Richard Leonard

Richard’s had a rollercoaster of a year, in April he was down over 40% and has now recovered to c +8%, from peak to trough, up about 80%. His biggest regret, moving to almost 100% cash in March, but he got back on the horse quickly, buying Polar Capital amongst others. Hear more of his reflections and details of his 2021 pick.

Year to date performance – 00:50
What played out well in 2020: Polar Capital (POLR) – 05:15
What was your biggest mistake, & the learning? – 11:20
2021 outlook – 12:45
Novacyt (NCYT) – 13:50
2020 pick: Bloomsbury (BMY) – 15:39

About Richard in his words:
My interest in the London stock market came about in the early 80’s – working over the summer holidays whilst at college, as a post boy – leading to being somewhat of a gofer for a man call Zimmerman, who help build Mercury Asset Management in the 1980s. The taste of the moving parts of the City gave me my first real joy of City life – and I loved it.

1986 – joined Lazard Brothers (via the back door) as a Trust Accountant, valuing and doing the daily book-keeping for investment trusts/unit trusts. Had my chance to move to the front office in 1988 as an assistant fund manager on the bond the international desks. Met my first real mentor John Innes, helping to manage and win major international global accounts – flying around the world in my mid 20’s.

Realised the real way to learn the skills needed to manage money was via mentors – very good ones. My real passion is to manage money invested directly in stocks and shares – where I saw the excitement and thrills – and having the belief I could make serious money. Passed my analyst and other professional exams then had the chance to join a real modern day investment legend – Richard Smith – becoming his no.2 on the Lazard UK Small Companies desk. Over the following 5 years gained the opportunity to build the investment style foundation stones – I still follow today.

The importance of skilled mentors – is the real key to success of any young professional – especially in the investment world. True 30 years ago – true today.

1997 – left Lazard to join the sell side (stockbroking), Chaterhouse- specialising in small and mid-cap UK companies. An amazing experience, helping to take a mid- ranking firm to No1.

2001 – sold my soul to Merill Lynch.

2005 – returned to the buy-side with Cazenove to help run the UK focused hedge funds – mixing my stock picking skills to their business cycle style. Ended up with about £1.5billion of funds to manage and becoming one of the most successful performing UK hedge funds in the UK in that period, especially the GFC.

2010 – left Cazenove to join Trium – a private family wealth office – manging our own money – no clients – simply an absolute returned focused approach. Long – short. And both short and long term objectives and managing my own pa. money alongside.

Richard’s interview from August.

Richard & Andy Brough.

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