Rodrigs returns to fund management after controversial exit

Rodrigs returns to fund management after controversial exit

Two years after his sudden exit from his role as fund manager at River and Mercantile, Philip Rodrigs is returning to the industry with a firm he co-owns. 

Mr Rodrigs was fired from River and Mercantile in February 2018 after a two-month investigation that had centered on risk-based compliance monitoring.

At the time of his dismissal in February 2018, the company said in a statement that it had found Mr Rodrigs' professional behaviour was "incompatible with the high standards of conduct" which River and Mercantile expects from its staff, "particularly that of a FCA approved individual and senior portfolio manager".

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Speaking to FTAdviser this morning, Mr Rodrigs said he is still in dispute with his former employers at River and Mercantile and “strongly disputes” their reasons for firing him.

Data from Companies House shows Mr Rodrigs owns more than 50 per cent, but less than 75 per cent, of the shares of a company called Raynar Portfolio Management Limited, that he is also chief executive of. 

He lists his occupation on the documentation as investment manager. The nature of the company’s business is listed as share and commodity dealing. 

The company’s first fund, Raynar Enhanced Portfolio, has been launched this month. It is a multi-asset fund run by Matthew Taylor, Mr Rodrigs' business partner in the venture.

Mr Taylor, a former portfolio manager at Julius Baer, has invested in Mr Rodrigs' funds for his clients in the past.

He worked at Julius Baer for 14 years and left in 2017 to set up a family office for a wealthy individual.  

Mr Rodrigs said: “We have the same entrepreneurial approach to fund management and wanted to build a firm that puts the client first and is ethical.”

Mr Taylor has a holding of between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of the shares in the new company, according to Companies House. 

Mr Rodrigs said he is in the “fundraising stage” for the fund he will manage at the business, which will focus on small and micro cap equities, and will be called Raynar Flagship. 

He expects the fund to launch within three months. It will not be available for mass market retail clients, but instead focus on advised and high net worth individuals.

Mr Rodrigs ran a small cap fund and micro-cap fund at River and Mercantile during a four-year period, and prior to that ran a similar range of funds at Investec, where he worked for eight years. 

He said: “I am being very clear with clients that this strategy will involve investing in micro caps and small caps at the start, but as it gets bigger we will then not be able to invest in the very smallest companies, that will be a consequence of the success of it.”

Mr Rodrigs said he was aware of the challenges that come with trying to launch a new asset management firm in the current climate, with passive investment products becoming more prevalent and the regulatory obligations increasing.