Witan switches two global equity managers

Witan Investment Trust has switched two global equity managers on its investment portfolio as chief executive Andrew Bell continues to chop and change.

The trust is run by outsourcing the investment management to multiple external managers with specialities in certain areas.

Chief executive Andrew Bell has made numerous changes in external managers since taking over in February 2010 and he has now given Thomas White International and Southeastern Asset Management the boot.

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The £190m global equity mandate that had previously been run by those two firms has been divided between Pzena Investment Management and Tweedy, Browne Company.

Pzena has been given £145m to run in line with its Global Expanded Value strategy, while Tweedy, Browne has been given £45m to run in a similar way to its Tweedy, Browne Global High Dividend strategy.

Mr Bell said Witan had made the switch because it wanted to invest “more with specialist managers who have fundamentally-based and high-conviction approaches towards adding value through stock picking and portfolio construction”.

Pzena is a New York based investment house with $23.4bn (£14.3bn) in assets that takes a “deep value” approach, selecting companies from the bottom fifth of the market in terms of valuation and selling when that valuation goes above the market average.

Tweedy, Browne is another US manager, based in Connecticut, managing $19bn and it also has a value bias, though it looks to invest in firms with a “secure and growing dividend yield”.

Witan replaced Comgest with Matthews Asia on its Asia Pacific remit earlier this year, while in 2012 Heronbridge was brought in to replace Newsmith on a UK equity mandate and Lansdowne Partners was handed a small global equity mandate.