5 Minutes With: Premier's Jon Hudson

Jon Hudson, co-manager of the Premier UK Growth fund, reveals his love of travelling and regret over a missed investment opportunity

Annalisa Esposito 23 August, 2019 | 12:23AM
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Jon Hudson, 34, joined Premier Asset Management as a UK equity analyst in 2007 and now co-manages the Premier UK Growth fund with Benji Dawes. The pair focus on growing British businesses across a range of sectors, with top holdings including insurance giant L&G and low-cost gym chain The Gym Group. 

What does the fund do?

Invests in UK companies across the market cap spectrum. We look at companies that can generate high returns, have good balance sheets and high cash conversation – we like to be confident that the businesses we invest in can deal with a possible market downturn.

What’s a stock you’re excited about it?

Spirent Communications (SPT), a telecomms firm that tests network devices. We invested in October last year and it has performed very well, but is still being ignored by many investors.

What’s your best ever investment?

Online fashion retailer Boohoo (BOO). I was only an analyst when I convinced the management to buy the shares at 29p - today they trade at about £2. If we had invested earlier we could have done even better. The company has grown in size and developed an economic moat that makes it tough for competitors to beat.

...And your worst?

Proactis (PHD), a procurement network organisation. Scale in this sector is crucial and Proactis bought a competitive perfect e-commerce, which seemed like the transformative acquisition. But soon after the deal it lost two major customers and we lost confidence in the management team and ended up selling the company out at 40% loss. 

What's the company you wish you'd invested in but didn't?

The pub chain, EI Group (EIG), which used to be Enterprise Inns. The market was looking at this company in the wrong way - it should have been valued as a property company like British land not a pub group. As a property company, it was significantly undervalued. Last month, Stonegate completed my misery by acquiring EIG at a premium.

What’s the thing you’ve learned?

Only to invest in things I understand. There are always other investors, who have a superior knowledge than me in certain sectors.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to be very active: cycling, hiking, playing golf. Travelling is my other main passion, I was recently in China and Georgia, and I am going to Colombia in a couple of months.

If I wasn't a fund manager...

I’ve always being fascinated by markets; I like the concept of buying something cheaper and selling it for more.  My parents used to say I was like Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses because when I was young I would try to sell toys to my sister. 

What's the best thing about this industry? 

Everyday something happens. It’s not monotonous, which makes it very easy to get up and go to work in the morning.

...And the worst?

The level of information on my desk - it can be overwhelming at times.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
Boohoo Group PLC34.34 GBX-1.83
Spirent Communications PLC178.20 GBX-1.82

About Author

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

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