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Ions in the fire for multi team

Ions: ‘There are plenty of foundations here that we can build on’
Ions: ‘There are plenty of foundations here that we can build on’

Liontrust’s new chief executive John Ions is keen to add a multi-asset, multi-manager team to the group, saying IFAs are increasingly outsourcing asset allocation work ahead of the retail distribution review.

He says he would consider hiring a multi-manager team, provided it is in a position to gather assets quickly, or he may even buy in a multi-manager division.

He says: “The multi-manager area is hugely exciting. If you look at the top-line sales figures at Cofunds, there is huge development of multi-asset type products. With the RDR, intermediaries are focusing very much on servicing their clients and not spending so much time on investment work.”

The comments come after Liontrust’s founder and former chief executive Nigel Legge left on August 6 following a handover process to Ions that began in May.

On July 1, Ions ousted Liontrust’s global equity fund team, headed by former Gam star Ross Hollyman, which was hired by Legge six months previously. Ions axed the team of three after they failed to launch any funds.

Ions joined Liontrust as head of retail in February from Tactica, a boutique that specialises in multi-asset – an investment style where single funds trade across equities, bonds, property and alternatives. He stresses that there is no panic at the group to bring in new teams and the current focus is on the performance of the existing three, who all work under Liontrust’s philosophy of sticking to strict investment processes.

There is the economic advantage team made up of Anthony Cross and Julian Fosh who run UK equities, the cashflow solution team, made up of Gary West and James Inglis-Jones who run UK and European equities and the credit process team of Simon Thorp and James Schlator who run long/short bond funds.

Liontrust suffered outflows for over after a year when its former investment directors Jeremy Lang and William Pattisson quit in January 2009, worsening existing outflows that had already shrunk its assets from £5bn to £;3bn.

But the group’s most recent interim statement shows that assets under management have stabilised around the £1.15bn mark, with July bringing the first month of net sales rather than outflows since 2008. The statement said five of the group’s seven funds are now in the top quartiles of their IMA sectors for performance during the fund managers’ tenures.

Ions says: “There are plenty of foundations here that we can build on.”

He has also been hard at work revamping the way that the company communicates with its clients and the market, including a high-profile advertising campaign that was launched last month.

Ions says: “There is not a bad feeling towards Liontrust, just a sense that people did not know what was going on. People are not going to look into what is happening, you have got to go out there and tell them. There are some firms that are talking to us now that have not done so for a long time.”


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