Newton’s Wilmot comes off UK income fund in manager shake-up

Newton has switched managers on two of its major funds with Richard Wilmot coming off the £2bn Higher Income fund and Jason Pidcock stepping back from the lead manager role on the underperforming Oriental fund.

The group said Mr Wilmot, who took the fund on from Tineke Frikkee, would no longer run the fund but would remain at the group as head of the UK desk, manager of the Newton UK Equity fund and alternate on the UK Opportunities fund.

Since taking on the product in December 2012 and overhauling the mandate - including cutting the income target - Mr Wilmot has delivered a bottom quartile return of 20 per cent in the IMA UK Equity Income sector, according to data from FE Analytics.

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Instead Chris Metcalfe, who previously ran the Newton Income fund before it was merged away, will run Higher Income. Mr Metcalfe is a member of the group’s multi-asset team and will continue to run his Managed fund.

Elsewhere, Jason Pidcock will no longer be lead manager on the underperforming £465m Oriental fund and will switch places with existing alternate manager Caroline Keen on the product.

The growth-focused fund has underperformed peers in five-, three- and one-year time frames during which it is fourth quartile in the IMA Asia Pacific Excluding Japan sector, according to data from FE Analytics.

Mr Pidcock will continue on his £4bn Newton Asian Income fund and £206m Emerging Income fund which he runs with Sophia Whitbread. Newton Asian Income is top quartile in three- and five-year periods, according to FE Analytics data.

Simon Pryke, chief investment officer at Newton, said: “The Newton Higher Income fund is now structured as we envisaged following the change to the yield discipline in 2013 and under Christopher’s new leadership on the fund, we believe that it is positioned to perform well.

“Christopher currently manages a range of portfolios with an income requirement and he has extensive experience in managing UK and global equity portfolios.”

Darius McDermott said Mr Metcalfe taking on the Higher Income fund was a “positive move for people in the fund”.

“I previously supported Chris when he ran the Newton Income fund which was on our buy list,” he said.