Investments  

Neptune rules out role in industry consolidation

Neptune rules out role in industry consolidation

Fund management boutique Neptune will be neither a buyer nor a seller in the current round of industry consolidation, according to the company.

Neptune was founded by fund manager Robin Geffen and he remains chief executive of the company.

Assets under management at the business dropped to £3.7bn from £4.5bn in the half year to 30 September 2017.

The company reported a profit of £675,000 for the period.

More regulation and downward pressure on fees has contributed to a spate of mergers in the asset management industry, including the merger of Janus and Henderson, and of Aberdeen and Standard Life.

Some have speculated Neptune may be takeover target for larger rivals.

But a representative of the company said it “is not in discussions with anyone about a sale, and is not for sale”.

The spokesman said Neptune is “focused on growth in the business, and on performance”.

The company had previously tried to launch a wealth management business, but later abandoned that plan.

Company founder Mr Geffen also runs a number of funds.

His £468m Neptune Balanced fund has returned 45 per cent over the past five years, compared with 36 per cent for the average fund in the IA Mixed Investment sector in the same time period.  

The company has had a wave of staff departures over the past year, with US fund manager Felix Wintle, head of distribution Charlie Parker, and UK equity manager Holly Cassell took a sabbatical in September 2017.

Mr Geffen has a particularly negative view of the outlook for the UK economy right now, and has tilted the exposure of his £215m Neptune Income fund away from companies that derive the the UK economy.

He is skeptical about the level of dividend cover available to UK companies, and concerned about the political outlook.

Mr Geffen added that he is concerned about the outlook for the UK property market.  

David.Thorpe@ft.com