Aberdeen Asset Management has confirmed the active equities team of the Scottish rival it bought in May has been scrapped, with its managers leaving the firm and the funds likely to be merged away.
Earlier this month Aberdeen revealed its equity teams were set to take on the Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (Swip) active equity products and that many of the Swip managers were facing the axe.
Investment Adviser can now confirm that 13 members of the Swip global equities team have left the business. These include Iain Fulton and Stephen Corr, who co-managed the Swip Global fund, and Gregor Macdonald and Andrew Paisley, who co-managed the Swip UK Smaller Companies fund. Other managers axed include James Kinghorn, Greig Bryson and Karolina Noculak.
Katie Wearmouth, who co-managed the Swip European fund, went on maternity leave in May, but the other members of the global equities team have now left the firm. The Swip global equities team were managing £2.9bn of assets across global, European, UK and US funds at the time of Swip’s acquisition.
A spokesperson for Aberdeen said that the firm “will rationalise and consolidate some of the funds”. Investment Adviser understands most of the funds formerly managed by the Swip team will be merged with corresponding Aberdeen funds.
The Aberdeen Global Equity team, headed up by Stephen Docherty, has taken on the management of the Swip Global and Swip Financial funds. The team already runs a global equity product, the Aberdeen World Equity fund.
The Aberdeen Pan-European Equity team, led by Jeremy Whitley, has taken on the Swip European and three UK equity funds, Swip UK Income, Swip UK Smaller Companies and Swip UK Opportunities fund. The team already runs a European, UK equity income, UK equity and UK smaller companies fund.
The Swip North American fund will now be managed by Paul Atkinson’s Aberdeen North American Equity team on the same strategy as the Aberdeen North American Equity fund.
Out of the six Swip funds that have corresponding Aberdeen funds, three had actually outperformed their Aberdeen counterparts in the past three years, according to FE Analytics, while two have outperformed in the past five years.
Elsewhere, the management of the Swip UK Flexible Strategy fund has been moved to the Aberdeen Solutions unit, which is now led by Archie Struthers, previously managing director of investment solutions at Swip.
The manager of the fund, Tony Foster, has been kept on by Aberdeen, but his deputy manager, Mark Phillips, and analyst Ivan Kralj have left the firm.
The departure of the Swip global equities team comes after Aberdeen had already axed several top directors at Swip in its attempt to align the two firms’ investment divisions.
The end of a troubled team
Swip’s active equity funds have long been looked upon negatively by the industry, frequently finding their way into lists of poorly performing funds, such as Bestinvest’s Spot the Dog report or Chelsea Financial Services’ RedZone.