Ardevora joins major league as funds hit IMA sectors

Ardevora Asset Management, the boutique set up by star managers Jeremy Lang and William Pattisson, has entered the mainstream by securing IMA sector listing for its funds, as their performance goes from strength to strength.

The firm’s three funds – UK Income, UK Equity and Global Equity – are Dublin-based, but they have been added to the IMA’s peer groups, which will bring them onto the radars of thousand of intermediaries.

The funds are firmly top-quartile in terms of returns since launch, and are now listed on four major platforms – Skandia, Cofunds, Ascentric and Transact.

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Mr Lang told Investment Adviser that 2013 was shaping up to be “a big year” for the fledging business, which the former Liontrust fund management gurus founded in 2010.

“When we first started off, people may have thought we were an interesting proposition, but they waited to see whether we were going to survive – a lot of small businesses don’t make it.

“We have now demonstrated that we can run money and run a business too,” he said.

“Our plan is the same as it was when we started. We knew if we built the platform, stayed boring and did the same thing again and again we could end up running a lot of money.

“We can run a lot of money for a lot of people using the three strategies we have. We can spin out the odd variation, but it will essentially be the same stocks in the portfolios.”

Since launch, the £92.8m Ardevora Global Equity fund, the biggest of the three funds, has gained 30.7 per cent, compared with a 16.9 per cent average return from funds in the IMA Global sector, according to FE Analytics. The other funds rank in the top 10 of their respective sectors since launch.

“It’s been an unusual period where we have had an unusual degree of success with the companies we have bought,” Mr Lang said.

“It’s partly because we spend a lot of time looking at the riskiness of businesses before we invest. For example, we got pretty pessimistic about natural resources a year ago, so we have very little there. The more flaky businesses have struggled to perform, which has helped us.”

He said recent reviews of the firm’s UK portfolios have shown a “profound” shift in focus compared with their structure at launch, due to more attractive opportunities emerging in domestic-focused companies such as housebuilders. In 2011, the funds were biased towards companies with significant business interest in emerging markets.

In early 2011, Mr Lang and Mr Pattisson launched the three Ardevora funds, followed in April 2012 by the launch of a UK-domiciled mirror version of the UK Income product, with Margetts Fund Management as authorised corporate director.