Aberdeen adds to Henderson’s Bennett

Aberdeen’s multi-manager team has bought into John Bennett’s Henderson European Focus fund to expand its equity exposure to the Continent.

Mr Bennett’s £98.7m fund was the third-best performing product in the IMA Europe ex UK sector in the three years to October 17, according to FE Analytics.

The fund posted a 45 per cent return, although its 12-month performance has seen it slip down the rankings.

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Scott Spencer, senior portfolio manager on the Aberdeen team, said the European Focus fund complemented its existing holdings in the JO Hambro European Select Value and BlackRock European Dynamic funds.

He said: “We’ve been adding at the margin to Europe, reducing our underweight position to near neutral. The Henderson fund is something quite different to our overall blend.”

In the £332.6m Aberdeen Multi-Manager Cautious Managed fund – the largest portfolio the Aberdeen team runs – the European exposure has risen slightly from 5.3 per cent at the end of June to 5.7 per cent at the end of September, according to the product’s factsheets.

The team’s second largest fund, the £90.1m Multi-Manager Equity Managed fund, has seen its European equity exposure increase from 11.3 per cent to 12.3 per cent in the same period.

Meanwhile, the JO Hambro European Select Value fund –run by Robrecht Wouters – is the portfolio’s top holding at 7.1 per cent.

In both funds, the team has reduced its holdings in a long-standing position in the Findlay Park American fund, a move which Mr Spencer said was down to profit-taking rather than a change of view on the product.

Mr Spencer said he was also backing the GLG UK Select fund – now a 5.9 per cent holding in the Aberdeen Multi-Manager Cautious Managed fund – following manager John White’s decision last month to retire from fund management.

The fund has been taken on by Nick Judge and Charlie Long.

“We’re fairly comfortable with the new team,” Mr Spencer said.

“They don’t intend to change much, but there will be more focus on a bottom-up approach. Nick and Charlie have had a more hands-on approach over the past 18 months anyway.”

Aberdeen’s multi-manager range has shown improved performance in the past 12 months.

Four funds are in the top or second quartile of their respective sectors, while two sit in the IMA Specialist sector, in which funds are not directly comparable.

The Multi-Manager Cautious Managed fund’s 12.3 per cent return in the 12 months to October 17 ranked it firmly in the top quartile of the IMA Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares sector.