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Witan picks Chicago boutique firm in shift to Asia and alpha

Witan has appointed Thomas White International to manage a £150m mandate within the company’s £1.5bn investment trust.

The Chicago boutique is Witan’s third global addition to the trust as it broadens the investment reach by increasing its exposure to the group’s Asian portfolios.

The move will see cuts in other areas of the market, with the UK mainstream portfolio reduced from 40 to 32 per cent and the North American weighting from 10 to 6 per cent.

The trust is looking to move from beta to alpha generation as part of its new strategy, with 35 per cent of the overall portfolio run by active global managers.

Witan says the White appointment is a strategic investment and has not been a reflection of poor performance by other mandates. The group already has global exposure through MFS and Southeastern, which run 10 and 15 per cent of the portfolio respectively.

The benchmark of the fund has been changed moving from 50 per cent each in the FTSE All Share and World (excluding UK) index, to 40 per cent of the All-Share Index and 20 per cent in each of the All World North America, Europe and Asia Pacific index.

Witan CEO Jim Horsburgh says: “The board considered it expedient to reassess the trust’s benchmark using the GDP of three key trading areas – North America, Europe and Asia – as points of reference rather than weightings within world indices which largely reflect the past performance of stockmarkets. This new benchmark should provide a better yardstick for investors.”

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