M&G’s French to retire from fund management

M&G Investments’ Graham French has stepped back from management of his £4.3bn Global Basics fund and will leave the group after six-months in an advisory role at the group.

The fund is being handed to deputy Randeep Somel, who has been with the group since 2005, with immediate effect.

Mr Somel started his career at the group as an analyst and rose through the ranks to become deputy manager on the Global Basics fund in January 2010.

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A spokesperson for M&G said Mr French had been at the group for 25 years and would retire in May next year, during which time he will retain an advisory role.

“Graham will be in an advisory position for the next six months,” the spokesperson said.

“He has handed over stewardship for the fund to Randeep.”

The fund has struggled relative to peers and has delivered bottom quartile returns in the IMA Global sector in five-, three- and one-year periods, according to FE Analytics.

In the past 6 months it has delivered a 6.6 per cent loss, the data provider added.

The size of the fund has also fallen by roughly a third in less than three years. It has fallen 34 per cent from £6.6bn in April 2011 to £4.3bn now.

Mr French said: “After nearly 25 years with M&G, the time has come to pass the baton to the next generation of fund manager.

“I can retire in the knowledge that I leave the shareholders in Global Basics in the very capable hands of Randeep.

“Randeep and I have worked alongside each other for more than five years. He knows the portfolio intimately and is therefore ideally placed to be the next steward of the Global Basics concept of thematic investment.”

The group said there would be no change to the fund’s investment philosophy or principles.

“This remains an unconstrained, conviction-led portfolio of around 60 stocks,” the group said.

“Randeep will continue to use the concept of the curve of economic development – an investment model devised by Graham at the fund’s launch 13 years ago – to frame the multiple themes of the fund and to identify international companies that are well placed to benefit from the changing consumption and investment patterns of the 3.5bn people in the emerging world.”