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A year in investments: The star manager moves of 2013

2013 was a year dominated by high-profile moves. Undoubtedly the biggest manager news came in October when star manager Neil Woodford announced he was to leave Invesco Perpetual in April, after spending 26 years with the firm. 

Ever since news broke that Woodford was leaving to start up his own asset management firm and would be handing his funds over to colleague Mark Barnett, there has been speculation over what will happen to the huge amount of assets in his two high-profile funds.

Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott says: “Woodford leaving was the biggest news in my 18 years in the industry. It has been a huge year for fund manager changes and big-name moves.

“As advisers, hopefully it shows we can add value. The key challenge is the post-Woodford challenge. How good will Mark Barnett’s performance be once he does not have Neil Woodford sitting next to him?”

To put the Woodford outflows into context, the Investment Management Association UK Equity Income sector was the worst-selling sector in October with a net retail outflow of £298m.

Woodford’s Invesco Perpetual Income fund and the Invesco Perpetual High Income fund saw £663m and £423m pulled out respectively in October, according to FE Analytics.

But despite the fall in October, equities have been the favoured asset class in 2013 as the strong bull run drew investors back to the asset class, with bonds receiving the sharp end of the stick and seeing significant outflows. The year has been marked by the US stockmarket reaching record highs and developed markets outpacing emerging markets.

Another star manager departure came in June when Schroder UK Alpha Plus manager Richard Buxton left the firm to join Old Mutual Global Investors as head of UK equities.

Acquisitions

As Buxton was settling into his new role, his old employers were busy acquiring Cazenove Capital, with the Cazenove Capital managers moving over to Schroders in July. Included in the move were Cazenove UK Opportunities manager Julie Dean and multi-managers Marcus Brookes, Robin McDonald and Joe Le Jehan although head of pan-European equities Chris Rice chose to leave after a decade with the company.

Miton Group bought PSigma Asset Management in July, gaining the equity income expertise of Bill Mott and his team. In October, Liontrust acquired North Investment Partners as a way to move into the multi-asset market. 

November saw Aberdeen Asset Management buy Scottish Widows Investment Partnership in a deal worth £550m, with Lloyds Banking Group taking a 10 per cent stake in Aberdeen.  

2013 also saw some changes for  Standard Life Investment’s Global Absolute Return Strategies fund. Global head of multi-asset investing and fixed income Euan Munro was poached by Aviva Investors to become its new chief executive in 2014. Invesco Perpetual launched a rival product for former GARS members David Millar, Dave Jubb and Richard Batty, who were hired in late 2012.

Shah and Bolton

September saw Sanjeev Shah step down from the Fidelity Special Situations fund and hand management duties to Alex Wright. Meanwhile, Anthony Bolton, who returned to fund management in 2010 with the Fidelity China Special Situations fund, also announced plans to retire. Dale Nicholls will assume control of his fund in April.

Jupiter Absolute Return fund manager Philip Gibbs announced his retirement with M&G Global Basics fund manager Graham French also taking the decision to retire, handing the reins to Randeep Somel.

Other notable fund mana-ger departures include Mark Lyttleton leaving Blackrock after 12 years with the firm, Mary Chris Gay leaving Legg Mason Capital Management and Robert Siddles leaving F&CInvestments. Also, James Sullivan decided to leave Miton Group and Robert Anstey left Hermes Fund Managers.

Fund closures

A number of popular funds were closed during the year, with two powerhouses of emerging market investment – First State Investments and Aberdeen Asset Management – taking the decision to soft-close their most popular funds. Size was an issue in other sectors as Henderson closed the Henderson Credit Alpha fund and Cazenove closed the Cazenove UK Smaller Companies
fund and the Cazenove Absolute UK Dynamic fund.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior investment manager Adrian Lowcock says: “It is important to look at what the up and coming managers will be doing, they have a great opportunity to create and cement their reputations. It is a huge opportunity for the new generation of fund managers.”

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