Liontrust says it has seen little impact from coronavirus

Liontrust says it has seen little impact from coronavirus

Liontrust Asset Management and its future plans have not been impacted by the pandemic, according to the fund house’s chief executive.

John Ions, chief executive at Liontrust, told FTAdviser its strategy had not been impacted by the pandemic and plans all stayed the same, noting the firm had continued to communicate with clients and investors albeit digitally.

He added: “We have not furloughed any employees nor do we intend to make use of any UK government business support initiatives.”

Mr Ions also had “confidence” the firm would continue to “successfully navigate the pandemic”. 

In a trading update, published today (April 15), Liontrust reported net inflows of £492m for the three months to March 31, with advisers and consumers accounting for £413m of the incoming funds.

The positive net flows helped to slightly curb the impact of £3.5bn of negative market movements, which has seen the fund house’s assets tumble from £19bn to £16bn over the first three months of the year.

Commenting on the firm’s consistent inflows in Q1, he said: “We believe this faith comes from the performance of our funds over the long term and during the pandemic, the rigorous and robust investment processes that applied to our funds which gives predictability over how funds will be managed, the power of our brand and distribution capability, and the confidence they have in our administration.”

Liontrust also reported net inflows for the period April 1 to April 9 as investors put £136m into Liontrust funds, despite the UK being in lockdown. This helped lift the firm's Aum to £16.8m as at April 9.

John Ions, chief executive at Liontrust, said: “Liontrust went into the pandemic in a strong position, and by maintaining the processes we have put in place over the past decade, we have been able to replicate how we work normally.

“We have said many times in the past that performance is never predictable but process should always be.”

Mr Ions said it was against this backdrop that Liontrust could announce positive inflows over the past few months — and £2.7bn of net inflows for the year to March 31 — as well as the “outstanding performance” of its funds.

Liontrust reported the four funds in its economic advantage range were all in the first quartile of their respective IA sectors over a one- and three-year period while the three of them that had existed for longer were first quartile for five years as well.

Meanwhile, all eight of the funds managed by its sustainable investment team were in the first quartile over one-, three- and five-year periods.

Liontrust has focused on sustainability over the past few years, after shifting its focus to ethical funds in January 2018. Sustainable investments now account for £5bn of the firm’s £16bn assets.

Mr Ions said: “Sustainability has been rising up the agenda, and when we emerge from the lockdown there will be even more focus on investing in companies that contribute to and benefit from making the world cleaner, healthier and safer.