Fixed Income  

Liontrust’s Ions hints at new foray into fixed income

Liontrust’s Ions hints at new foray into fixed income

Liontrust chief executive John Ions has said the “equity-orientated” fund house could move back into the fixed income space as it continues to monitor potential expansion opportunities.

Last week the asset manager, which has offerings in areas such as multi-asset and equity income, reported net inflows of £255m for the year ending March 31 2016, driven primarily by the UK retail business.

Liontrust has made expansionary moves in the past year. These include an agreement to acquire the European income fund management business of Argonaut Capital, with Mr Ions (pictured) claiming it was “committed” to a strategy of broadening out its manager teams.

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While he said there was no “wish list” in terms of future teams or products, the chief executive noted future expansion could involve a fixed income offering.

Liontrust closed its nascent bond division at the start of 2016 after parting ways with managers Michael Mabbutt and Felix Martin.

The fund house also briefly flirted with fixed income in 2009 with the acquisition of a team from Ilex asset management, before selling this business in 2011.

Mr Ions said of the firm’s current structure: “We are very equity-oriented. Would we move to look at fixed income? Yes, but there are other areas [we could consider],” he explained.

“It’s really a question of identifying suitable managers. It’s a question of finding the right people and making sure the demand is there.”

By the end of March 2016, Liontrust’s assets under management had reached £4.8bn – marking a 7 per cent rise from the previous year – though a significant amount of this can be attributed to well-established franchises.

Approximately £2.6bn of this, for example, sits in funds run using the firm’s Economic Advantage process, overseen by Anthony Cross, Julian Fosh and recently appointed co-managers Victoria Stevens and Matt Tonge.

But Mr Ions suggested the growing popularity of offerings such as the Liontrust multi-asset range could help the company “broaden” its appeal beyond such core products.

“When we bring new teams in it takes three years to get a track record,” he said.

“But the Asian team has about £70m, Macro Equity Income has good flows and multi-asset is doing well. It’s broadening that base out to other products.”

Meanwhile, Liontrust remains open to the prospect of further acquisitions, although Mr Ions stressed the need to grow existing offerings.

“In terms of expansion, we want to grow everything that’s in the building at the moment,” he added.