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SJP picks Rees Mogg’s old firm as fund manager

SJP picks Rees Mogg’s old firm as fund manager

Wealth manager St James’s Place has appointed Somerset Capital, the fund house co-founded by Conservative politician Jacob Rees-Mogg, to manage its emerging market fund. 

Somerset Capital will take over as manager of the £943m St James’s Place Global Emerging Markets fund from Janus Henderson after lead fund manager Glen Finegan left the firm last year to set up his own firm.

The fund has sharply underperformed in recent years, returning 4 per cent over the past year, compared with 13 per cent for the sector average.

Over the past three years, the fund has returned 10 per cent, compared with 16 per cent for the sector.  

Mr Rees-Mogg had served as chief executive of Somerset Capital and was a partner and employee until he was appointed to the cabinet in 2019. 

Somerset Capital had assets under management of £5.5bn in July 2019, when Mr Rees-Mogg joined the cabinet. 

The day-to-day-management of the fund will be carried out by Edward Robertson, who co-founded Somerset Capital with Mr Rees-Mogg and Dominic Johnson.  

Mr Robertson is the lead manager on the Somerset Capital Global Emerging Markets fund, which has broadly tracked the wider market over the past three years, returning 23 per cent, compared with 25 per cent for the wider market.

Tom Beal, the recently appointed chief investment officer at St James’s Place, said Somerset Capital had been appointed partly because of the company’s track record as an investor using environmental social, and governance (ESG) considerations. 

He added: “Somerset Capital Management is a specialist Global Emerging Markets investment management firm with the resources and expertise to help deliver attractive returns for our clients over the medium to long-term.

“The lead manager, Edward Robertson, has nearly 20 years’ of portfolio management experience in emerging markets and a clearly defined investment process and style, aiming to construct a concentrated portfolio of around 40 high quality companies and hold them for the long-term.

"This disciplined approach is increasingly important in emerging markets given heightened levels of volatility and will be underpinned by the appraisal of four key risks when evaluating investment opportunities – business, financial, valuation and governance."

He said appointment followed an extensive search which had focused on selecting a manager who can identify potential opportunities for high returns on capital irrespective of the market environment.

david.thorpe@ft.com

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