Investments  

Downing hires Banyard for new fund in 'coup'

Downing hires Banyard for new fund in 'coup'

Rosemary Banyard, who resigned suddenly from her previous fund last year, has been appointed to run a new UK equity fund.

She has joined Downing Fund Managers to run the Downing Unique Opportunities fund, which will invest in UK small and mid-cap companies that are considered 'unique' because they can achieve above average returns on capital based on a sustainable competitive advantage.

Ms Banyard was previously manager of the SDL Free Spirit fund but, despite outperforming its sector, she resigned last year after just two years.

She had previously spent 18 years as a small and mid cap fund manager at Schroders.

Ms Banyard said: "The opportunity to launch the Downing Unique Opportunities fund is an exciting one and I believe this fund will appeal to investors.

"I shall adopt a tried and tested investment strategy, refined over many years, which focuses on businesses which have few if any peers listed in the UK.

"These businesses are likely to earn above average returns on equity without employing excessive leverage, by virtue of possessing certain attributes that protect them against competition."

Ms Banyard's new fund will have a relatively concentrated portfolio of between 25 and 40 holdings and adopt an unconstrained approach, investing in UK companies across the market cap spectrum, including the FTSE 100, mid and small cap, and the Alternative Investment Market.

Judith MacKenzie, partner and head of Downing Fund Managers said: "It is a real coup for Downing to attract a manager of such calibre and experience.

"We are delighted to welcome Rosemary as we develop our new boutique strategy, working alongside highly experienced fund managers with proven track records.

"She has a long-standing and enviable reputation of hunting down the best companies in the UK, unconstrained by benchmark or market cap, and delivering benchmark and inflation-beating returns to investors over the long term."

The fund has an annual management charge of 0.75 per cent, with ongoing charges capped at 1 per cent a year.

damian.fantato@ft.com