For investors looking for UK growth shares with the wind in their sails, borrowing ideas from an American fund manager comparatively unknown on this side of the pond may seem strange.  But check the recent performance of a Stockopedia strategy designed to mimic the style of renowned  fund manager Richard Driehaus, and you’ll find some exceptional recent returns. His blend of earnings growth and share price momentum has hit a sweet spot in recent months and offers a potentially lucrative way to play the market and track down potential growth stars.

Driehaus is a ‘buy high, sell higher’ momentum master who matches small and mid-cap stocks with a track record for earnings growth and positive earnings ‘surprises’ with share prices that are already on the move. His fund firm Driehaus Capital Partners reportedly delivered compound annual returns of 30% during the 12 years after it was started in 1980 and that helped to earn him a place in Barron’s ‘All-Century’ team of the most influential fund managers of the 20th Century.

Companies with improving earnings growth rates are central to the Driehaus philosophy; he’s less concerned about high price-to-earnings ratios and balance sheet debt if sales and earnings look set to grow. Likewise, he’s relaxed about stocks where share prices have already begun to move, interpreting this ‘warming’ investor sentiment as a positive sign. You can read more about the specifics of the strategy here.

In many respects this combination of earnings growth and momentum is similar to the approach of another US investing legend, Bill O’Neill. Stockopedia’s model of O’Neill’s 9-point CAN SLIM strategy has actually outperformed Driehaus over the past year (40.3% versus 25.0%) but a surge by the Driehaus strategy over the past three months (up by 26.1%) is particularly eye-catching. It’s a return that has been been boosted by several strong individual stock performances from the likes of oilfield surveying company Thalassa Hldg (LON:THAL), food and engineering group Carrs Milling Industries (LON:CRM) and agricultural feed additives business Anpario (LON:ANP).

Digging deeper for growth and momentum

It’s worth noting that the Driehaus strategy pairs up two investing approaches that have been on fire in 2013. Momentum strategies have produced some exceptional returns since the start of the…

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