Several leading investment IFAs are to suspend recommending Jupiter's Income Trust in the wake of star manager William Littlewood's decision to take a sabbatical.
They say they are “unsettled” by the announcement and are not convinced Littlewood will return at the end of March.
The timing of the announcement has also surprised many in the industry because he is taking a break in the final throes of the Isa season - a time when sales of Jupiter's flagship funds traditionally soar.
The move comes off the back of recent poor performance, with the fund ranked 89 out 90 funds over six months to December 31 1999. It is down 11 per cent.
Jupiter announced last week that its star manager was to take a three-month break. It insists that Littlewood is committed to the company and will return after three-months.
In the mean time the fund will be managed by Prakash Rajasekaran who has worked alongside Littlewood for the past four years.
In an unlinked move, Jupiter has poached Johnson Fry UK fund manager Kenneth Warnock, although he will not take over responsibility for the Income fund. He will be involved with institutional work.
Jupiter sales & marketing director Steve Glynn says: “William is exhausted. He is not leaving Jupiter, he is not setting up a boutique and he will back in the spring. It is business as usual and we have a great guy in his place while he is away.”
But Churchill Investments managing director Jamie Ware says: “We have put the fund on hold for purchases.”
Plan Invest director Mike Owen, who has also pulled the fund, says: “It is unsettling and we will watch the situation with close interest over the next few months.”
Best Investment deputy managing director Jason Hollands says: “We have put the fund on hold because of the uncertainty element.”