Kames shakes up bond funds after trio of exits

Kames shakes up bond funds after trio of exits

Kames Capital has been forced to reshuffle its bond funds team for the second time in just over a year, following the departure of co-head of fixed income Stephen Snowden and three others.

FTAdviser understands that Mr Snowden and colleague David Ennett, head of high yield, as well as fund managers Stephen Baines and Juan Valenzuela, are leaving to join a firm that does not currently have an office in Edinburgh, where both those managers and Kames are based.

The departure of Mr Snowden and his colleagues comes just a year after the resignations of David Roberts and Phil Milburn, the previous co-heads of fixed income, who joined Liontrust.

Mr Snowden previously jointly managed the £1.4bn Kames Investment Grade Bond fund and other mandates, in addition to his responsibilities as co-head of Fixed Income.

Adrian Hull, previously co-head of fixed income, will become sole head of the department after his departure.

Other changes will see Grace Le join existing co-manager Euan McNeil on the Kames Investment Grade Bond and Investment Grade Global Bond funds.

Rory Sandilands becomes co-manager with existing manager Colin Finlayson on the Kames Absolute Return Bond Fund, which Mr Snowden had previously jointly run, while Mr Finlayson also becomes co-manager on the Kames Strategic Bond and Strategic Global Bond funds with current co-manager Alex Pelteshki.

Jack Holmes and Mark Benbow will co-manage the Kames High Yield Bond and Short Dated High Yield Bond funds, while Mr Benbow also steps up to join Mr Holmes, a co-manager on the Kames High Yield Global Bond fund.

Kames chief investment officer Stephen Jones said: "We operate in a very competitive market, one where we have seen a good degree of change recently across the whole sector.

"We are not immune and whilst it is always disappointing to lose members of the team, it allows us to promote from within and refresh and recruit where appropriate and necessary.

"I would underline that at Kames we operate a team based approach with a long standing tried and tested investment process across all asset classes with significant resource directed to fixed income where we remain committed to the market."

The company added that it runs a team-based approach in order to mitigate the risk to investors from individual managers leaving.  

Darius McDermott, managing director at Chelsea Financial Services said: "It's clearly a blow for Kames. Following the departure of David Roberts and Phill Millburn to Liontrust last year the team has been weakened again.

"Kames still have a big FI team and there is some continuity with Ewan McNeill, existing co-manager on the investment grade fund, staying.

"That said we are having to downgrade our buy rating on the investment grade bond fund to a hold."

Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at AJ Bell, said: "This has really ripped the heart out of the experienced team at Kames and leaves their capability significantly weaker.

"As a result of these departures, investors will need to think hard about whether the capability is strong enough in the short term or whether they would be better served looking elsewhere.