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Credit Suisse’s Francis hits back at doubters

Credit Suisse income man- ager Errol Francis has hit back at doubts over his staying power.

Francis took over the alpha income, income and monthly income funds at the end of October, following former manager Leigh Harrison’s surprise move to Threadneedle.

His appointment met with scepticism from a number of analysts, including Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier, who questioned Francis at a meeting last week on whether he will still be running the money in a year’s time.

Despite moving from running 265m in the growth and income fund to a total of 1.8bn, Francis says he is putting these numbers at the back of his mind.

His main concern is controlling risk at the small-cap end of his three portfolios, which hold 213m in 28 small-cap stocks. He says he has not met with all these firms yet.

Credit Suisse is recruiting another manager for its income team but Francis will remain lead manager.

Sales director Mark Thomas says the majority of clients have moved the income funds to hold status and are likely to scrutinise their performance closely over the next six months.

Francis is increasing exp- osure to banks, is overweight in defence and aerospace and hopes to capitalise on a predicted rise in M&A activity.

Francis says: “Leigh Harrison told me I should be looking to run these funds in five to 10 years but I am not going to be saying that to any of my team. After 18 months with CSAM, this is a huge opportunity and no one is taking these funds off me. I will be running them until I am dead in the box.”

Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott says: “On growth and income, Francis is ranked second quartile over a year, which is pretty good, but the key issue will be performance.”

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