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Henderson Fledgling handed to Miton’s Williams

Gervais Williams 450
Gervais Williams

Miton Capital Partners’ Gervais Williams and Martin Turner have been named as the managers of the £80.1m Henderson Fledgling trust, replacing Henderson Global Investors.

A strategic review of the Henderson trust was started in November last year and has resulted in a change of management, amendments to its investment policy, a planned merger with another trust and consideration of an enhanced interim dividend.

Williams and Turner will take over the management of the trust from Henderson’s Harmesh Suniara and Adam McConkey. Williams ran the investment company for almost ten years when he was at Gartmore.

In addition, the trust’s board is seeking approval to change its investment policy from focusing on fledgling companies to concentrate more on small and mid caps. It will also be able to invest in FTSE 100 companies.

“Over the longer term the [FTSE] Fledgling Index has significantly outperformed the FTSE All-Share Index,” a statement says.

“However over recent years the Fledgling Index has suffered both structural and cyclical issues that have led to relative underperformance by the Fledgling Index against the FTSE All Share and Small Cap indices.”

The board says these issues – which include a drop in the number of constituents in the FTSE Fledgling Index and the challenging business climate surrounding fledgling companies – contributed to the trust trading at a larger average discount that the UK Smaller Companies Investment Trust sector.

As well as changing the management team and investment policy, the board plans to merge Henderson Fledgling with Williams and Turner’s Diverse Income trust and look at paying an enhanced interim dividend.

The proposals are to be put before shareholders. M&G, owns 40.9 per cent of the trust, and Axa Investment Managers, which has a 14.3 per cent stake, have already indicated that they will vote in favour of the moves.

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