Fundsmith is aware of an article published in The Sunday Times on 24 March 2019 entitled “The star fund manager hiding a £17bn secret” alleging that we fail to abide by FCA rules on portfolio disclosure.
Fundsmith has always prided itself on being at the vanguard of investor communications, publishing an Owner’s Manual, an annual letter to shareholders and hosting an annual shareholder meeting to answer questions from shareholders in public, which is unique amongst UK funds and has become the largest shareholder meeting in the UK, attended by over 1,000 people.
We also fully comply with the FCA requirement to make available and publish annual and interim reports which are published in short form on our website and are available in long form, free of charge to any person on request or for inspection by the public free of charge during office hours at our offices which discloses the Fund’s full portfolio, as required by the FCA. The Sunday Times’s allegation that we are failing to abide by our FCA obligations in this regard is therefore demonstrably false and defamatory.
Our legal representations have resulted in The Sunday Times publishing a prominent apology, confirming there is no FCA or other obligation to do so and that we disclose our full portfolio of investments upon request. As we informed them ahead of publication of the original article, The Sunday Times has confirmed that we are not in breach. “We apologise to Mr Smith for this error.”
We have also secured the correction and re-publication of the articles online:
We do not believe that greater disclosure than that required by the FCA would be beneficial to our investors. Our Fund is concentrated in relatively few large positions and greater disclosure than that required could make it more difficult to deal when we are building or divesting from positions in the Fund, and enable other market participants to “front run” our dealing activity to the detriment of the prices we can achieve.