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Liontrust builds out bonds team as assets pass £10bn

Boardroom-Business-Chair-Executive-Corporate-700x450.jpgLiontrust Asset Management has announced it has poached Baillie Gifford fixed income manager Donald Phillips as assets under management climb past £10bn.

The boutique asset manager saw assets increase 9.5 per cent from the start of the quarter to £10.6bn at 31 December. Net inflows for the period were £571m, while total assets increased £916m over the period.

Liontrust used a trading update to reveal that Phillips will join David Roberts and Phil Milburn, who arrive from Kames later this month, in the global fixed income team. Phillips will join in February.

Liontrust will launch strategic bond, high yield bond and absolute return bond funds, subject to appropriate regulatory approvals, after the team joins.

Chief executive John Ions says Phillips brings experience in high yield bonds.

He says: “This new global fixed income team has a demonstrative track record of adding value to client portfolios and are highly regarded by investors in the UK and continental Europe.”

Baillie Gifford has revealed it has appointed Lesley Dunn as co-manager of the Baillie Gifford Corporate Bond fund and Lucy Isles as co-manager of the Baillie Gifford High Yield Bond fund. Dunn joins Torcail Stewart and Stephen Rodger as a co-manager on the £727m Corporate Bond fund, while Isles will work alongside Robert Baltzer on the £458m High Yield Bond fund.

The Liontrust trading update also revealed the extent that sustainable investments have contributed to inflows.

Since the acquisition of the Alliance Trust Investments team in April the ethical funds have attracted nearly £500m. That compares to total inflows of £749m for the nine-month period ended 31 December.

Ions notes the sustainable investment team’s funds are all top quartile over a one-year period in their respective sectors, and eight out of the 10 funds are top quartile over three years. The funds are ranked next to peers in their asset class, rather than sustainable competitors .

“The focus on and assets being invested in sustainable investing continue to increase,” Ions says.

He also pointed out that Anthony Cross’s UK Smaller Companies fund celebrates it 20-year anniversary this week, which he described as a rare achievement and testament to Cross’s investment process.

“Liontrust does not aim to offer all investment options but the working environment we provide for managers who have strong investment processes has never been more valued by investors.”

Premier assets rise 23 per cent

Premier Asset Management, another boutique manager, also published its quarterly trading update today, showing AUM had increased 23 per cent year-on-year to £6.4bn.

The asset manager enjoyed its nineteenth consecutive quarter of positive net inflows, attracting £236m for the period.

Chief executive Mike O’Shea says 2017 was a strong year for investment performance across the fund range.

“Despite the uncertain investment and political conditions, we believe our focus on active management, good long-term investment results after fees and relevant investment products means we are well positioned for the future,” O’Shea says.


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