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There are ‘advantages’ to a Greek exit, says Pease

There are ‘advantages’ to a Greek exit, says Pease

Star European equity manager Richard Pease has said there would be “advantages” to a Greek exit for the eurozone, in spite of current market nerves.

Crux Asset Management’s Mr Pease, manager of the £1.1bn Crux European Special Situations fund, which he brought across from Henderson, said all the hysteria around a Greek exit was just “a lot of noise”.

“The Greek debacle has been the longest running saga,” he said. “[However], there are some advantages if it does leave the eurozone. There would be some finality to the debacle.”

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But, at the moment, he noted “investors are nervous about the direction of travel – just look at what has happened to German bunds”.

Last week fears continued to mount that Greece would default and leave the single currency, with Greek prime minister Alex Tsipras fuelling the fire by accusing the International Monetary Fund of “criminal responsibility” for his country’s predicament.

Investors have become increasingly nervous in the face of such rhetoric, with the Euro Stoxx 50 Volatility index, a proxy for investor fear, last week hitting its highest level since January.

But Mr Pease said he was not going to “twitch” and change his portfolio in the face of such volatility because it was based on “noise” that he “can’t control”.

The manager said he was not overly concerned with a Greek exit because he does not currently have any holdings in southern Europe and has little exposure to bank stocks.

Mr Pease said his two bank holdings were “safe bets”, with Nordic-based bank Nordea and Swiss bank UBS both occupying top-10 positions in his fund.

Germany, Sweden, France and Switzerland were the manager’s largest regional allocations, with the four countries making up almost 60 per cent of the fund in aggregate.

However, Mr Pease has not ruled out all “periphery” countries. His second largest holding is the Irish-based support services group DCC, which makes up 4.1 per cent of his portfolio.

The fund has been a top performer in the past five years. Its A-share class has returned 83.4 per cent, while the IA Europe ex UK sector has returned 64.2 per cent.

Crux Asset Management was incorporated last year and was authorised by the FCA in October, but Mr Pease’s fund only officially moved to Crux at the end of May and is its only current retail fund.

Former Thornhill chief operating officer Alistair Reid leads the new firm as chief executive. Meanwhile Mark Little, formerly of Henderson, will be in charge of distribution and Giles Kidd-May, who started his career at Jupiter, will head up marketing.

Last week the team also hired Karen Zachary, previously of Man Group but a former colleague of Mr Pease, as chief operating officer.