New fund management faces to look out for in 2014

This article is part of
Spring Investment Monitor - March 2014

Manager moves are nothing new, but the past 12 to 18 months has been a bit of a blur that has continued into 2014.

Big names such as Neil Woodford, Richard Buxton and Anthony Bolton have switched roles or are about to depart, but there are also some potentially overlooked changes.

Investment Adviser has listed 10 of the ‘new faces’ of fund management in 2014, some are the obvious big names – such as Mark Barnett who took over Neil Woodford’s funds this month – but we have also included some of the manager switches that have received less airtime.

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These include Simon Webber who has taken over the reins from Virginie Maisonneuve on the Schroder Global Alpha Plus and Schroder ISF Global Equity Alpha funds.

Having previously primarily managed the firm’s global climate change mandates, the appointment is a broader remit for him.

Its not just open-ended funds that have seen changes, however, there are two investment trusts on the list with soon to be new managers in April and July this year in the form of Paul Niven at F&C and Dale Nicholls at Fidelity, both of whom are replacing retiring managers.

This revolving door of managers can make it difficult for advisers to keep on top of who is running what, and while many of the replacements have been around for a number of years, for some this step into the spotlight is the first time they have taken on a lead manager role in that style of fund, or it is a significant jump in assets under management.

A key example of where there are concerns about the size of the funds being taken on include Mark Barnett, who now runs the £8.4bn Invesco Perpetual Income and £13.09bn Invesco Perpetual High Income funds.

But surely the proof of the pudding is in the performance of these managers in their new homes?

Some are yet to take on their new mandates, such as Dale Nicholls and Paul Niven. But of the remainder most have produced positive returns in the short time they have been in charge of the new fund, with Diane Sobin at Threadneedle producing the best result with the Threadneedle American Select fund.

She has delivered a 5.85 per cent return between February 1 and March 5 2014, outperforming both the IMA North America sector and the S&P 500 index.

However, while the short-term performance is good, the question remains what these managers will do over the longer term. Stepping into the spotlight can bring rewards in the form of more assets and wider remits, but at the same time it results in increased scrutiny and pressure from advisers.

It will be interesting to see which of the ‘new faces’ rise to the challenge.

Nyree Stewart is features editor at Investment Adviser


Name: Mark Barnett

Replacing: Neil Woodford on £8.4bn Invesco Perpetual Income, £13.09bn High Income funds and Edinburgh Investment Trust