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Witan Investment Trust adds UK and European mandates

Witan Investment Trust has awarded both Artemis and Marathon Asset Management £75m to run active UK equity mandates, while also launching a £30m European mandate for Paris-based Varenne Capital Managers.

Artemis will managed a mandate through a segregated portfolio mirroring the Artemis UK special situations fund run by Derek Stuart.

Meanwhile, Marathon runs a contrarian, “capital cycle” approach to investment taking long-term views on individual holdings. The group’s founder Neil Ostrer will manage a 40 to 50 stock segregated portfolio mirroring the group’s UK equity product.

Having had a large proportion of the trust managed on an enhanced index basis by Henderson Global Investors, the board of the investment trust felt it had the flexibility to add to its risk budget, reducing its exposure to the offering. However, the mandate has produced strong returns since its introduction in 2004 and will continue to run £195m in UK equities on the same basis.

Varenne will run a portfolio of 10 to 15 stocks mirroring its active value fund.

Witan Investment Trust chief executive officer Jim Horsburgh says: “These appointments add high quality investment expertise to Witan’s manager line up. Artemis and Marathon have different approaches both of which have proved very successful in the past. Artemis is a strong retail name while Marathon enjoys a considerable reputation in the global institutional marketplace. Witan investors should benefit from this more active approach in the UK particularly in these volatile markets where stock picking is key. Varenne is an example of the type of manager closed-ended funds like to employ. They are deep value and invest with conviction and patience offering the chance for significant out-performance over time.

“Witan will continue to evolve as an investment proposition as it develops its best of breed approach offering shareholders exposure to talented managers, many of who are normally inaccessible to the UK retail investor.”


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