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Categories:Investments

Bridge sets five-year £5bn target for MAM

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MAM Funds head of business development Neil Bridge says that he plans to grow the firm’s assets under management from £1.7bn to £5bn in five years.

Bridge was head of UK retail sales at Schroders and left last year after 21 years with the firm. He joined MAM Funds last month and says he has big ambitions for the business.

He says: “I want to grow assets under management to £5bn in five years from £1.7bn at the moment. We cannot stand still. If a firm stands still, it will decline. We have got to grow the business.”

Bridge says a large proportion of the growth will be organic and the rest will come from new product launches and bringing in new managers. He says: “We have got to expand the business and bring in managers in areas we are not covering today in the mainstream asset classes.”

He says MAM is launching an Oeic in October which will be based on MAM’s diverse income investment trust, which is managed by Gervais Williams and Martin Turner. The pair will also manage the Oeic which is a UK multi-cap equity income fund.

The Oeic will invest 10 per cent in FTSE 100, 30 per cent in mid cap and 20 per cent in small cap, 10 per cent in fledgling stocks and 30 per cent in Aim stocks.

Bridge says: “If you take the long-term macroeconomic outlook and demographics of investors, income-producing products will become more important in an adviser’s armoury.

“Very high-net-worth inves-tors are conscious about not losing capital. We are in a much lower-growth environment. A lot of economists think that interest rates will only peak at 2 per cent in this business cycle. Returns of 6 to 7 per cent are starting to look attractive for those in the wealth preservation, beat cash area.”

Bridge says once he has established the Oeic, he will look at launching more products that will appeal to discretionary fund managers.

He says: “The discretionary market is one of the key areas of my expertise. Also, if you look at the capabilities of Gervais, he has got a great following in the discretionary space.

“Some of the discretionary fund managers are running billions of pounds of assets and an investment trust vehicle for them is not the right structure. We are talking about managers who, if they like what you have got, can give you a £20m to £50m deal.”

In terms of MAM’s product range, Bridge says the firm will re-engineer existing assets, review what funds are trying to achieve, see whether they can be improved and reassess which sectors they are in.

He says: “Many intermediaries tell me they buy the Miton strategic fund as an absolute return fund because they have looked at what it has done historically but it sits in the balanced sector.”

Bridge says MAM will wait for the outcome of the Investment Management Association’s consultation on the absolute return sector before deciding whether to move the fund.

He says: “We are really focusing on intermediaries in the UK and I would expect to significantly increase the assets in a number of our funds. That is why I have been brought in.”

Bridge says he is focusing on promoting the Miton special situations and strategic funds to advisers. Both funds are managed by Martin Gray.
He says: “Only three out of the 114 balanced managed funds in 2008 went up. Both these funds went up while one of the best-performing multi-manager funds went down by 15 per cent. A total of £850m of assets under management are in those two funds which makes up half of the assets at MAM.”

The £185.7m CF Miton strategic fund has made an 18.6 per cent return over a three-year period compared with an IMA average of 11.2 per cent.

The £614.2m CF Miton special situations fund made a 17 per cent return over a three-year period compared with the same IMA average of 11.2 per cent.

MAM’s latest launch, the diverse income trust, raised £50m in its flotation on the stockmarket last month.

Bridge says: “In terms of expansion in investment trusts, that is a piece of work that I will be doing based on feedback from IFAs over the next six months.”

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