Rosemary Banyard, who resigned as co-head of Pan European Small Cap equities at Schroders in 2015, has revealed the reasons why she left the comfort of a giant firm to start again.
Ms Banyard had worked at the giant fundhouse for 17 years and could have retired, joined another large firm or taken up a slate of non-executive director roles.
But she said: “After about 15 years at Schroders I knew I was ready to do something else. It took me a couple more years to actually do anything about it, because I am loyal to clients and to employers.
"I did a bit of travelling, and really enjoyed seeing all of those places, but I thought this wasn’t the thing I wanted to spend all of my time on. There were opportunities to be a non-executive director, but I think there is reputational risk if you go down that route.
"The company could do badly because of the industry it is in, or because of the actions of the management, but the non-executives reputation would suffer as well, so I thought that isn’t for me.”
Instead she joined the small firm of Sanford DeLand Asset Management, to launch the Free Spirit fund.
The name is a reference both to the fact the mandate can invest in companies of all sizes on the London Stock Exchange, and also because it reflects Ms Banyard’s attitude to being away from life working for a major corporate business.
The fund is up 25 per cent since launch, and is currently, according to Ms Banyard attracting inflows of about £1m per month to grow to its current size of £13m.
Ms Banyward retains about 15 per cent of the fund’s capital in cash, she said as "so many UK shares look expensive right now, good companies, but not cheap shares, and I am happy to hold onto the cash until the shares become a bit cheaper.”
The fund aims to mirror the returns she achieved when running a pension fund mandate at her previous employer.
That fund was targeted to achieve a return of inflation plus 5 per cent, which she said was more than achieved during her years running the fund.
Ben Yearsley, director at Shore Capital said: “Rosemary had an excellent long term record at Schroders so the new fund is well worth a look.”