Odyssean manager takes compassionate leave year after launch

Closed-ended fund has deployed 78% into UK small-caps universe

Odyssean Capital has informed markets Stuart Widdowson will take compassionate leave due to health issues in his family less than a year after he launched the UK small caps investment trust.

Approximately 78% of the closed-ended fund has been deployed since its launch in May 2018 raised £87.5m. The trust currently holds 15 stocks.

Co-manager Ed Wielechowski will manage and engage with existing investee companies during Widdowson’s three-month absence, which begins 1 April.

Winterflood Investment Trusts head of research Simon Elliott said the investment trust will be aiming to ultimately deploy around 90% of assets and slowly build up positions due to the reduced liquidity of the stocks.

“You might find that extra 10% just ends up in the names they’ve got in the portfolio at the moment. They will have other names other than the 15 in their monitored list, but they’re very price sensitive and they won’t rush in. It’s a very different mentality, they’re not looking at active risk versus the benchmark, they’re just trying to find a number of companies they think will generate shareholder value.”

Co-manager Wielechowski is an experienced investor who has been with the trust since launch and would be very familiar with all holdings, he added.

Widdowson (pictured), who champions a hybrid public and private equity investment approach on the investment trust, will remain chair of the research and investment committees during his leave period. A regulatory filing published on Tuesday morning said he looked forward to returning to the business as soon as possible.

The board of the investment trust, which is chaired by Ruffer co-founder Jane Tuffnell, said it was confident capital would continue to be managed in accordance with the same principles and strategy put in place by Widdowson before the initial public offering.

The company will provide a Q1 2019 update in early April 2019.

Prior to founding Odyssean, Widdowson was a fund manager at GVQ Investment Management.

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