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The up-and-coming fund managers to keep an eye on

16 September 2022

Experience and a long track record are prized among senior fund managers, making it more difficult to make a call on junior leaders – here are three talented young managers to watch.

By Tom Aylott,

Reporter, Trustnet

Managers play a crucial role in how a fund performs, with their investment style, stock picking and decision making all culminating in the total return delivered to investors.

It is important to put your investment in a safe pair of hands, which is easier to do with experienced managers that have a long track record of success.

However, junior managers newer to the asset management game bring fresh ideas and often benefit from investing without cumbersome amounts of money or a previously entrenched approach.

Here, Trustnet asks expert fund pickers which young managers with less than three years’ experience have displayed a talent for investing.

Kelly Prior, manager in the multi-manager team at Columbia Threadneedle, said that Jupiter’s Hilary Blandy is a gifted manager with a promising career ahead of her.

Her investment journey began in 2002 and she spent several years as an investment analyst before being appointed manager of the Jupiter Monthly Income Bond fund in September 2020.

Since taking over the £144m portfolio, the fund is up 0.6%, beating the IA Sterling Strategic Bond sector average by 7.22 percentage points and taking a 2.4 percentage point lead against the ICE BofAML Sterling High Yield benchmark.

Total return of fund vs benchmark and sector since Blandy took over

Source: FE Analytics

Compared to its sectoral peers and relative benchmark, it was the only one to make a positive return over the period, which Prior attributes to Blandy’s experience as an analyst.

She said: “The key here is that there is huge resource and genuine collaboration between the analysts and portfolio managers at Jupiter. Hilary is exceptionally well placed to understand this resource having worked on both sides of the fence given her previous role as head of fixed research.

“The jump from analyst to portfolio manager does not suit everyone but Hilary is definitely one to watch.”

Another to keep an eye on is Liontrust’s Alex Wedge, according to Jason Hollands, managing director of Evelyn Partners.

Wedge moved to Liontrust in March 2020 after spending more than seven years as an equity salesman at small-cap focused stockbroking firm, N+1 Singer.

He was promoted to co-manager on the Economic Advantage Team at the start of 2021, joining FE fundinfo Alpha managers, Anthony Cross and Julian Fosh.

Funds managed by the team include Liontrust UK Smaller Companies and UK Micro Cap, both of which have cumulative assets under management (AUM) of more than £1.4bn.

Total return of funds since Wedge joined the management team

Source: FE Analytics

Hollands said: “It is way too early to assess Wedge’s personal record, but the build-out of the team is all part of a longer-term succession plan for this key Liontrust franchise.

“As a small, five-strong team managing significant assets, you can be sure the recruitment approach has focused on people who can both make a valuable contribution now but also have great long term potential.”

Investors may also want to keep an eye on Fotis Chatzimichalakis, manager on Impax’s Specialists and Climate strategies, according to Rob Morgan, chief analyst at Charles Stanley Direct.

He joined Impax as an intern in 2015 before being promoted to co-manager of the £1.3bn Environmental Markets Trust in October 2021.

Total return of fund vs index

Source: FE Analytics

The trust has undergone a difficult period of volatile markets since he joined the management team and returns are down 17.1% as a result, but Morgan is confident in Chatzimichalakis moving forward.

He said: “It’s always good to see a blend of youth and experience, and with Bruce Jenkyn-Jones and Jon Forster alongside we believe this an expertly managed Trust targeting environmental solutions.

“As a global mandate focused on a fast-changing part of the market the process is research intensive and strength in depth is important.”

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Data provided by FE fundinfo. Care has been taken to ensure that the information is correct, but FE fundinfo neither warrants, represents nor guarantees the contents of information, nor does it accept any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions or any inconsistencies herein. Past performance does not predict future performance, it should not be the main or sole reason for making an investment decision. The value of investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise.