HOME-grown industry is the focus of a new investment fund which will only put investors' money into Yorkshire companies.

The Yorkshire T20 Portfolio is thought to be the first of its kind as it has a strict regional focus.

York-based asset management company Mole Valley Asset Management (MVAM) has launched the 'made in Yorkshire’ portfolio, featuring 20 handpicked, listed companies from across the county.

MVAM wants to champion regional businesses and enable people to grow their savings while supporting local industry.

Duncan Sanford, who heads up the MVAM office, in Blake Street, has built the portfolio over the past year, based on his experience as former chief executive and chief investment officer for Nestlé Capital Management Ltd, the chocolate manufacturer’s global pension fund, and former interim deputy CIO of LGPS Central Limited.

The Yorkshire T20 reflects MVAM’s ethos of community-focused investing and asset management.

Duncan said: “Over 80 companies that have head offices in Yorkshire are listed on the stock markets, from gourmet food producers to digital gaming companies, property giants and healthcare equipment minnows.

“Yorkshire is at the forefront of business innovation in the UK across a broad range of industry sectors, which provides the perfect opportunity for people who would like to invest their money closer to home."

He added: “We believe what we’ve come up with is an excellent group of listed firms which are either already hugely successful or, in many cases, about to break through.

“Our approach is to work with the businesses we’ve selected, and others that are up and coming, so that we can accompany them along their growth journey.”

The fund includes Wetherby-based biotech Avacta, which is working on a test for the coronavirus.

Already working to develop a new class of cancer drugs aimed at patients who don’t respond to existing therapies, Avacta has also joined the fight against Covid-19.

Avacta chief executive officer Alastair Smith said: “I am delighted and honoured that Avacta finds a place in MVAM’s Yorkshire T20 portfolio.

"I’m a Yorkshireman myself and many of our employees based at our Wetherby lab and head office are local, and it’s great to have a showcase like this for the innovation and entrepreneurship going on in Yorkshire. Our roots are firmly in Yorkshire but we’re partnering around the world to develop novel cancer therapies and powerful diagnostics to help shape the future of medicine."

Duncan believes MVAM is also at the forefront of emerging investor trends, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“While, of course, there’s always going to be an appetite for investment in global companies, we’ve seen the tide starting to turn for some time, with people looking increasingly to be part of their local economies,” he added. "We can only see that counter-globalisation drive increasing post-COVID-19, as people re-assess their priorities in all aspects of their lives. And, if they’re increasingly looking to shop local, why not invest local as well?”