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Fund superstars continue to feel the heat

The Principal income study has always garnered its fair share of headlines in the press and the latest issue is no exception as again two of the UK equity income sectors biggest superstars were omitted from its highly regarded white list.

This time the axe has been swung on Axa Framlington’s George Luckraft and Rathbone’s Carl Stick, who have both been demoted to the grey list after losses of 33.5 and 25.5 per cent in the past 12 months. Stick only returned to the elite list in January.

The two are part of four changes to the list, which calculates the best 12 funds in the sector based on consistent total returns and risk over five years, with Marlborough UK equity income and Norwich UK equity funds also falling from white to grey.

Big name movement has been common place in the past two white lists, with January’s seeing Tony Nutt, dropped to grey following a difficult 2007 thanks to his decision to pull out of mining stocks early. Nutt stays on the grey list, but Principal’s decision to remain a buyer indicates how highly he is thought of as manager of the Jupiter income trust.

Threadneedle has been the biggest beneficiary of the latest shake up with Leigh Harrison and Jonathan Barber joining the list courtesy of the UK equity income fund and UK monthly income fund respectively. They are joined by Invesco Perpetual UK strategic income and Resolution asset higher yield.

12 good funds have been offset by 12 poor funds and for New Star Asset Management the black List makes a sorry sight with New Star higher income managed by Toby Thompson joined by equity income on the list of funds that Principal sees as those that should be sold.

The placement of Stephen Whittaker into the list, was his last hurrah as he was promptly replaced by Charles Deptford last week, following dire performance.

Speaking of departures, First State announced one of its own this week as Vijay Tohani ended his eight year tenure with the firm.

Tohani managed the Indian subcontinent fund since its launch in November 2006, along with the offshore version.

He is being replaced by co-manager David Gait, who steps into the lead manager role, with Angus Tulloch taking on co-manager responsibilities.

The fund has not been through the best of times in the past 12 months having lost 11.1 per cent.

While many rate the First State Asian and global emerging markets teams highly, they are now likely to take the cautious stance as they wait to see how Gait performs as the No.1 on the fund.

OBSR ratings agency has quickly moved to suspend the A rating and will look to meet the managers to reassess the fund. Many will probably do likewise.

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