Baillie Gifford hires co-managers for Japan funds

Baillie Gifford hires co-managers for Japan funds

Baillie Gifford has hired two fund managers to help run the Japanese Smaller Companies investment and its newly-launched Japanese Income Growth fund.

Karen See will work alongside Matthew Brett to manage the Income Growth offering, which was unveiled by the Edinburgh-headquartered firm in July last year.

Over the past six months the £100m growth fund has outpaced the Japan sector, returning 19.1 per cent against the peer group average of 18.8 per cent.

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Meanwhile, Felicia Hjertman will work with lead manager Praveen Kumar to run the £300m Japanese Smaller Companies.

According to figures from FE, the fund has returned 36.3 per cent, lagging behind the Japanese Smaller Companies sector which has scooped up a return of 41.5 per cent.

James Budden, director of retail marketing and distribution at Baillie Gifford, pointed out that the company has a team-based approach to fund management.

He added: “We see strong merits in the appointment of co-managers across our range of open-ended investment companies.”

Both Ms See and Ms Hjertman were previously part of Baillie Gifford’s Japanese Equities team.

A spokesman from the Baillie pointed out that the firm's Japanese equity team is probably the largest Japanese investment team based outside of Japan, adding: "We are keen for their members to have hands on experience of managing funds.

"We are a team-based business rather than focusing on star managers, and always have several managers on a fund," he said, adding this helps to market the funds to investors.

"In the cases of both the Income & Growth and Smaller Companies funds, co-managers have been in the pipeline.

"Matt Brett got the growth fund off the ground and now it is time he has some help, while Karen has been involved with JIG from the start.

"Likewise Praveen took over from John MacDougall at the end of 2015 and now Felicia is in a position to step up her responsibilities. It made sense to kick off this arrangement at the beginning of the year."

Ben Yearsley, investment director at the Wealth Club, said: “I imagine the firm is trying to strengthen the team and plan ahead for the future, as it’s a very important franchise for them.”

He said Baillie Gifford has an “excellent” Japanese team, both small and large cap., and described their investment trusts, which includes its Japan and Shin Nippon offerings, as “top quality”. 

Mr Yearsley added: “Overall I'm positive on the prospects for Japan and I’m overweight the area.”