5 Minutes With: Miton’s Thomas Brown

Thomas Brown, co-manager of the Miton European Opportunities, reveals his penchant for Nike trainers and a good investment in the financial crisis

Annalisa Esposito 16 August, 2019 | 9:51AM
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thomas brown

Thomas Brown, 42, has co-managed the Miton European Opportunities fund with Carlos Moreno since its launch in 2015. The fund has a bias towards medium-sized European companies, with a market cap of between £2 billion and £15 billion. Top holdings include Italian car manufacturer Ferrari and Swiss manufacturer SIKA.

What does the fund do?

We try to find the best and most interesting companies in Europe. We look across a broad range of businesses and try to look at smaller firms to find undiscovered gems.

What is a stock you’re currently excited about in the portfolio?

Hypoport. It’s a German firm that provides high-tech software and consultancy services to the financial industry. It's not very well-known at the moment but I think more people will have heard of it in five years, when it has become a much bigger company. 

What is your best ever investment?

I worked for a hedge fund during the credit crisis and I had a few short positions that did very well. One was Northern Rock – it went down 100% since I suggested shortening the position, which is the maximum you can gain on a short. I also invested in Ferrari in 2016 and shares have tripled since then. It was an easy decision to make once we met the management team. 

And your worst?

Holiday website Lastminute.com in early 2000. I thought I could make a quick trade before the tech boom peaked, but by the time I received the paper share certificate, it was too late: the tech boom was already over. 

What’s the stock you didn’t buy that you wish you had?

I wish I bought Nike shares when I first fell in love with their shoes, when the Airmax was first released in 1987. I was 10 years old. I’ve always been obsessed with trainers but I should have bought shares, instead of staring at shoes through shop windows.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?

Information comes from everywhere, it’s not only what you read in the financial press, it’s in the product you buy, the people you speak to, the jobs your friends complain about when you meet up. The main thing, as you go through life, is to keep your eyes and ears open.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to cook and eat well, and then I exercise to burn all the calories off: so I go to the gym, I cycle, I like snowboarding and surfing. I exercise as much as possible when I am away from the desk.

If I weren’t a fund manager…

Before being a fund manager, I was a waiter and a DJ, so I guess I would go back to be one of these two. Which one would I choose? The waitering career is more reliable, but the DJ is more glamorous.

What’s the best thing about this industry?

The variety, that you learn something new every day. We look at many different companies that do so many different things. Recently, for example, we were looking up treatments for diabetes. It’s not an area I knew much about it, so I had to do quite a bit of research.

And what’s the worst?

There is no real off switch. If you’re a portfolio manager, you’re responsible for that portfolio, so you take it everywhere you go and think about it all the time - at the weekend, in the shower, you can't get away from it, until maybe when you retire. 

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
Premier Miton European Opports A Acc178.74 GBP-2.70Rating

About Author

Annalisa Esposito  is a data journalist for Morningstar.co.uk

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