Hargreaves Lansdown has dropped the Jupiter financial opportunities fund – managed by Guy de Blonay – from its Wealth 150 buy-list.
Meera Patel, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, says the £482.6m fund had delivered “extremely impressive” returns after launch in 1997.
She says: “We believe the secret behind the fund’s success, and the key reason we favoured the fund, was the skill of Philip Gibbs.
“He has proved adept at reading the economic picture, and was not afraid to shift the portfolio aggressively between regions and assets.”
Patel says the appointment of de Blonay as co-manager alongside Gibbs in 2010 had been welcomed and Hargreaves Lansdown had believed Gibbs would remain involved in the fund after he stepped down as lead manager in January.
She says although this had not happened, de Blonay’s track record had given analysts “high hopes he would be able to continue the fund’s impressive track record”.
“However, under his stewardship the fund has struggled. Since he took over the portfolio it has been positioned for a recovery in the financial sector – a recovery which is yet to materialise,” says Patel.
“Despite his cautious stance on the eurozone, preferring businesses in more robust economies such as Switzerland, Sweden and Germany, overall performance has been poor.
“Exposure to emerging markets has also had a negative impact as they have been especially hard-hit in this year’s volatility.”
The removal from the Wealth 150 has also been fuelled by a recent move by Jupiter to limit the fund’s flexibility on the amount that can be held in cash and bonds.
Patel adds: “We would stress that this does not constitute a recommendation to sell the fund, and we believe existing investors should generally continue to hold if the fund meets their objectives.”
The analyst says investors wishing to access Philip Gibbs should consider the Jupiter Absolute Return fund.
She says: “Since launching in December 2009, the fund has been a little disappointing, but it has held up well during the recent market turbulence, and we retain our long-term confidence in Philip Gibbs.”
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