Why this ASX 200 share is my biggest personal holding: fund manager

In a rare insight, a prominent stock expert just revealed the largest holding of his own personal portfolio.

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a headshot of james gerrish in an office setting.

Shaw and Partners portfolio manager James Gerrish.

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The public links portfolio managers, stock advisers and analysts to the investment style of their products.

But who is to say their personally held ASX shares aren’t completely different?

After all, prominent portfolio manager Marcus Padley revealed earlier this year he only has two stocks in his personal portfolio.

That’s why it’s fascinating whenever any morsel of information about the personal holdings of professional investors comes to light.

How have they invested their own hard-earned money, as opposed to other people’s money?

This week we saw a case of this when Shaw and Partners portfolio manager James Gerrish revealed what his biggest personal holding is.

Market has overly punished this stock

In his weekly Market Matters Q&A for his subscribers, Gerrish was asked about the prospects of software provider Xero Limited (ASX: XRO).

Xero shares have fallen almost 40% for the year to date.

“This is the largest position in my personal portfolio, and we already have a decent exposure via our Market Matters Growth Portfolio.”

The market did not react well to Xero’s recent earnings news, sending the shares down 10% on the same day.

But Gerrish doesn’t agree the results were bad.

“We didn’t think the result was a bad one, they have simply prioritised growth over profit, which the market currently doesn’t like.”

Great stock, but be patient

Having said this, Gerrish wouldn’t jump head-first into Xero shares right at the moment.

“While we think Xero is a quality growth company, the value contraction in this space has been both huge and deeper than we imagined in this first leg down,” he said.

“We do like the stock into weakness but the trend is down and surprises do usually unfold with the trend hence we wouldn’t be going all-in anytime soon.”

There will be opportunities further down the track when the entry point is even cheaper, according to Gerrish.

“It reminds me of a famous Warren Buffett quote: ‘Price is what you pay but value is what you get’.”

TMS Capital portfolio manager Ben Clark told a Livewire video this week that most fund managers count Xero as “one of the highest quality businesses” on the ASX.

“On face value, it still looks expensive, mainly because they pump about 80% of their revenue back into investment,” said Clark.

“That’s the business that is at the tipping point of the overshoot… that could run hard if we start to see that play out.”

Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo has positions in Xero. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Xero. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Xero. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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