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Baillie Gifford promotes Helen Xiong on US Growth trust

7 January 2019

Baillie Gifford US Growth promotes deputy manager Helen Xiong to co-manager alongside Gary Robinson following earlier departure of Andrei Kiselev.

Baillie Gifford US Growth (USA) has promoted deputy manager Helen Xiong to co-manager alongside Gary Robinson.

Xiong has earned a Citywire AA-rating alongside Robinson and Scottish Mortgage (SMT) co-manager Tom Slater for work on the Baillie Gifford American, US Growth’s £1.9 billion open-ended sister fund.

She has worked on US Growth since its launch last March when it raised £173 million. While this fell short of a £250 million target it was viewed as a good result given the increasing concerns that the US stock market had peaked after a long bull run. 

Xiong joined Baillie Gifford in 2008 as a graduate from the University of Cambridge, and has worked in the Edinburgh-based firm's developed Asia, UK, North America, emerging markets, and global equity teams before settling into the US equities.

Her promotion comes 10 months after the trust’s other deputy manager, Andrei Kiselev, quit a few days after flotation.

Robinson said: ‘The co-manager structure better reflects Helen’s very strong contribution and our team-based approach to portfolio management.’

The trust has grown to £243 million, issuing £55 million of new shares since launch to take advantage of a premium rating that has seen the stock generally trade above net asset value (NAV).

Although the shares have fallen 14% in the past three months USA still stands 2% over NAV. There is only one other North America focused trust - BlackRock North American Income (BRNA) - that has retained a premium in the seven-strong North America sector.

Like other Baillie Gifford equity trusts and funds, USA has a big exposure to growth and technology companies and so was hit hard when such stocks were sold off in the ‘Red October’ crash as investors worried about the global economy and rising interest rates.

Its largest holding is Amazon (AMZN.O), at 9.3%, followed by electric car maker Tesla (TSLA.O) and gene sequencer Illumina (ILMN.O) at 5.9% and 4.8% respectively of the portfolio.

Streaming service Netflix (NFLX.O), Google-owner Alphabet (GOOGL.O) and Facebook (FB.O) also feature in its top 10 stocks.

Investment company news brought to you by Citywire Financial Publishers Limited.

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