Miton 

Miton no longer reliant on star managers

Miton no longer reliant on star managers

The chief executive of Miton has said the company is no longer reliant on star fund managers.

David Barron acknowledged his firm had depended on a small number of high profile fund managers and said this created "key man risk" for the firm.

In 2016 Miton’s share price fell 30 per cent in a single day when fund managers George Godber and Georgina Hamilton resigned and moved to Polar Capital.

The fund they ran, Miton UK Value Opportunities, shed £250m in assets in the months after the pair left.

Mr Barron said he was aware of the potential for the defection of a fund manager to derail the business but said he has tried to address this by diversification.

He said two thirds of the net inflows attracted by the company last year went to funds not managed by the company's most famous manager, Gervais Williams.

He said: "We hope to create a good environment where there is little clutter for the fund managers to deal with, and the incentive plans they have are long-term."

Mr Williams is an executive director of Miton and runs the £1.2bn Miton Multi-Cap Income fund, which accounts for about a third of the company's assets under management.

Miton have launched three funds in the past 12 months and he said more are in the pipeline.

He said: "We do not feel compelled to hire people to do this."

Craig Baker, global chief investment officer at Willis Towers Watson, which now runs the Alliance Trust investment trust, said the wave of regulations was likely to make it more difficult for smaller firms to launch products in the market.

Mr Barron added that Miton's "simplicity" relative to its rivals meant it had navigated Mifid II rules without too much of an impact on the business.

He said the number of compliance staff at Miton has risen from one to four but added: "Because we run UK funds for UK clients, we don’t have overseas distribution for our products, the regulatory changes have not had a major impact on the business.

"We have obviously made the changes we need to."

Mr Barron said the requirement under Mifid II to not charge clients for investment research has been dealt with because the experience of the fund managers employed at Miton meant they were aware of which analysts provided research which adds value, so there was not an issue about what research to use.

He said the company did not charge performance fees or recieve "box profits", both of which have been in the firing line from regulators.

Mr Barron's comments come in the context of the Miton European Opportunities fund reaching £300m in size. The fund is managed by Carlos Moreno and Thomas Brown,and was launched in December 2015.

david.thorpe@ft.com