It's important to stress that this isn't the only sensible approach to equity investing (though its proponents often give the impression that it is), yet it gains extra credibility via its link with the great Warren Buffett. In Fundsmith's case, there is also a boost to credibility - much smaller, though still useful - via its link with Terry Smith. Mr Smith is - or was - just about the only City analyst ever known to the wider public. That was because of the fuss caused by his book, Accounting for Growth, which caught the zeitgeist of the early 1990s as Joe Public struggled to understand why big and profitable quoted companies could suddenly go bust. The answer was - and usually is - 'creative accounting'. Mr Smith's book was not the only one to deal with that subject, but - happily for Mr Smith, as it turned out - he was the only one who got sacked for his efforts and that produced enough publicity to make a bestseller.
Since then, Mr Smith has progressed through a highly successful and largely conventional City career. He has, however, always retained his knack for speaking his mind and doing well out of it - and Fundsmith is his latest use of that ability. It seeks, as it were, to do a 'Branson' on retail investment funds. Virgin's money products are marketed on the virtues of offering clarity and value for money and Fundsmith takes a similar line.