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Is it time to invest in large cap shares?

Just 7 of Australia’s top 20 largest companies managed to post a positive return in 2015, but that’s not stopping Wilson Asset Management from launching a new fund to invest in large-cap shares.

Found Geoff Wilson has told the Australian Financial Review, “I admit it sounds a bit contrarian to launch a large caps-focused fund now when everyone is saying you want to be looking in small- and mid-caps industrials for returns, but usually when everyone one is telling you to do something one way in this game, it’s usually a good idea to go the other way.

Wilson Asset Management already has a number of listed investment vehicles on the ASX including WAM Capital Limited (ASX: WAM), WAM Active Limited (ASX: WAA) and WAM Research Limited (ASX: WAX).

But this will be the first time the fund manager will test its process, which focuses on earnings growth and a relative assessment of valuation multiples, on the larger end of town. As Mr Wilson says, “Our process has been skewed towards identifying opportunities that can grow earnings faster than the rest of the market, which has naturally led us to invest in the smaller and medium-sized companies. This fund will lower the growth thresholds so we can include more large capitalised companies.

WAM leaders fund as it will be known, will invest in companies within the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) which holds around 200 of Australia’s largest businesses. The first port of call for the new fund might be the big four banks Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC). Mr Wilson says the banks look attractive at current valuation multiples, after being sold off heavily in the latter part of 2015.

ANZ and NAB shares have been particularly hard hit, losing 19% and 16% in the 2015 financial year, while both Westpac and CBA shares are trading well below their 52-week highs.

The attraction as well is the banks’ fully franked dividend yields, which are all now well over 5%, ANZ and NAB sporting 7% dividend yields.

Foolish takeaway

I wouldn’t bet against Mr Wilson and Wilson Asset Management making WAM Leaders a highly successful investment company. Maybe it is time to take a closer look at the big four banks, not to mention other large-cap shares.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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