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How big a blow for SLI’s GARS is Euan Munro’s departure?

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Outgoing SLI fund manager Euan Munro

The departure of Standard Life Investments head of global multi asset investing and fixed income Euan Munro has caused concern among fund pickers but they say it is too early to make decisions regarding money allocations.

Munro, who established the firm’s flagship £18bn Standard Life Investments Global Absolute Return Strategies fund, is joining Aviva investors as chief executive.

SLI lost three members of its GARS team, David Millar, Dave Jubb and Richard Batty, to Invesco Perpertual in September last year

Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott says: “It is a blow for SLI, Euan Munro was the architect of GARS.

“It is not good news and we will need to speak to SLI to get a greater impact of this. We are contemplating our reaction in respect of our rating of the fund.”

Equilibrium Asset Management investment manager Mike Deverell agrees that Munro’s departure is significant, but sees GARS’s success being mainly due to a team effort.

Deverell says: “For any fund group if you start seeing people leaving you start asking questions but I do not think you would take money out just because Munro leaves.”

Hargreaves Lansdown senior investment manager Adrian Lowcock says: “This is an interesting move for Munro, as he is joining as CEO. It is a significant departure for SLI, losing a key member of its GARS strategy. It is too early to say what investors should do but we are closely reviewing the situation.”

FiveWays Financial Planning director Chris Gilchrist says: “Obviously it is a concern in that [GARS] has seen a lot of money. On the other hand it has been obvious they have been building their team up recently. So I am not sure it is critical for the fund. They have a pretty terrific depth of experience.”

Gilchrist also thinks it is too soon to make a “panic switch” and pull money from the fund but does admit the significance of the move.

“We are in the process of reviewing absolute return anyway,” says Gilchrist. “It is a bit of a coup for Aviva who have been under performing.

“It is going to be a challenge for Munro but you could argue the only way is up.”

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