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Book review – The Stock Picker

In The Stock Picker, veteran investor Paul Mumford recounts five decades of experience hunting for value in the UK stock market. Looking back at a career that began in the 1960s, Mr Mumford reminisces about the development of the investment world and gives his take on what has been a successful approach to markets.

Although Mr Mumford is one of the longest-serving fund managers in the UK, his early years were not so auspicious. Writing honestly and with a degree of charm, he provides an account of how those formative years shaped and influenced his stock picking approach. Eventually, Mr Mumford secured a job in the back office of a stockbroker, and from there, he advanced quickly. In 1975/76 small companies became his focus, and in 1987 the author switched to fund management.

It is refreshing to read an account of investing in the UK. The popular tomes on Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch – while arguably better written – are always set in the context of the American stock market, which can be difficult for a UK reader to identify with.

The Stock Picker is an engaging read for those interested in the investment industry and wider world nostalgia. At the end of the final chapter, Mr Mumford tells us, “the only advice I can give is to enjoy life to the full and let stock picking help to achieve a satisfying journey.” Such a fun approach offsets the hard work and fundamental analysis Mr Mumford has applied to building his Cavendish funds. Despite working for 50 years, the septuagenarian says he is able to wake up at 4am and arrive at his desk at 6am “because investment is something [he] enjoys”.

Rather appropriate for a very active investor, in my view.

Published by Harriman House

Richard Penny is manager of the L&G UK Special Situations Trust and L&G UK Alpha Trust

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