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Neil Woodford vs Nick Train – How would they invest this year’s ISA allowance?

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The ISA deadline has passed for 2017/18. If like me, you recently topped up your ISA just before the deadline, there’s a strong chance you’re sitting on a pile of cash right now, wondering where to invest it. With high levels of uncertainty across global financial markets at present, investing feels more challenging now than it did back in early January.

Today, I’m looking at the investment styles of two of the most prominent portfolio managers in the UK – Neil Woodford and Nick Train. What might these experts do with their ISA allowances?

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Neil Woodford

Neil Woodford takes a value approach to investing. He generally looks for attractively valued, dividend-paying companies generating high levels of cash flow. He focuses on sectors and stocks that are neglected and undervalued and invests for the long term.

Right now, Woodford sees considerable “valuation opportunities” in UK stocks. In a recent update, the portfolio manager pointed out that in the last few weeks we have seen a number of bids for high-quality UK firms from overseas companies. He believes this recent acquisition activity indicates that global corporates are realising that the UK stock market currently offers excellent value and that this may be the precursor to a re-appraisal of the UK economy’s prospects and the stocks that are exposed to it.

As a result, if Woodford was investing his ISA allowance this year I believe he would favour domestically-exposed stocks trading at low valuations. I think he would be interested in companies such as Lloyds Banking Group, Legal & General Group, Barratt Developments and ITV. These are some of the top holdings in his portfolios at present.

Nick Train

Nick Train takes a different approach to investing in the stock market. He essentially invests with a Warren Buffett-type strategy, focusing on high-quality companies with strong brands that are capable of compounding their earnings over a long period of time. He’s less concerned with valuation than Woodford, and doesn’t mind paying a higher price for a top company that has a strong long-term track record. His portfolios are generally quite concentrated and hold under 30 stocks.

Two sectors that Train tends to focus on include consumer staples and financials. His portfolios have high exposure to both these sectors. Within consumer staples, the portfolio manager is bullish towards companies that have strong brands such as Unilever and Diageo. Both these companies have generated strong returns for investors over the long term and with significant exposure to the world’s emerging markets, should be able to keep generating solid returns in the future. Train also likes the financials sector and believes that companies that derive their earnings from rising stock prices should perform well over time.

If Nick Train was investing his ISA allowance this year I believe he would look inatstocks such as Unilever, Diageo, London Stock Exchange and Hargreaves Lansdown. These are a few of the top holdings in his UK equity fund right now.

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Edward Sheldon owns shares in Lloyds Banking Group, Legal & General Group, ITV, Diageo and Unilever. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Unilever. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Diageo, Hargreaves Lansdown, ITV, and Lloyds Banking Group. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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