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Smith & Williamson unveils North American fund manager succession plan

Smith & Williamson has appointed Robert Royle as co-manager of the £83.9m North American fund, establishing a formal succession plan for the unit trust.

Royle has been working alongside Tana Focke, the fund’s manager, as assistant manager since he joined Smith & Williamson in December 2008. His new role becomes effective on July 1.

Focke has been running the portfolio since November 1997. Royle initially covered technology sectors for the fund before moving on to have wider involvement in portfolio construction.

Although Focke has no plans to retire, the appointment of Royle as co-manager formalises the succession plan for the portfolio when she decides to make that move.

A Smith & Williamson spokesman says: “We are keen to have a clear succession plan in place for the fund management of our North American trust, and indeed have been asked about this by advisers when conducting their due diligence.

“As Royle has become increasingly more involved in the idea generation for the trust, we thought it appropriate at this time to announce the formal co-management structure.”

The Smith & Williamson North American fund has outperformed since Focke was appointed to the portfolio, returning 124.7 per cent against the 110 per cent in the FTSE World – USA Index and the 69.3 per cent in the IMA North America sector.

However, performance has been weaker over shorter timeframes. The fund underperformed the index in the five years to April 30 and underperformed both the index and the peer group over one and three years.

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