BLOG: What to do when a star manager exits

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16/10/2014
Richard Pease’s departure from Henderson will prompt many investors to think carefully about their holdings. Nick Peters, Portfolio Manager at Fidelity Solutions, argues that knee-jerk reactions following fund manager departures can be a mistake, and that the decision about whether to stay invested is complex.
BLOG: What to do when a star manager exits

Why did you invest in the fund in the first place? Will the investment process stay the same on each of the funds?

The exit of a portfolio manager, or any other change, is a good time to reassess the reasons for holding a fund. Chances are that when investors first put money into these vehicles, they did so with specific risk tolerances and financial goals in mind. Whatever the circumstances for the change, take the opportunity to make sure the fund can still provide what you are looking for.

 In this case, the Henderson European Growth Fund and Henderson Horizon European Growth Fund will remain with Henderson and be managed by co-manager Simon Rowe, while the Henderson European Special Situations Fund will go with Pease to Crux Asset Management.  The management of the funds looks set to remain consistent in terms of style and approach. We may see new information emerge about how Simon Rowe intends to manage the Henderson portfolios, so investors should look out for this in the coming months. Pease is intent on sticking to his well-known investment style, and the fund’s focus and objectives are set to remain the same.

 How will a portfolio manager adapt to managing funds in a new company?

Even if the investment process is due to remain the same and the fund’s goals remain consistent, investors should consider the support and resource that comes from a new fund management house.

 Pease is moving from Henderson, a large and well-established company, to Crux, which is a smaller boutique house. This may not impact Pease’s fund, but moving between different environments can affect performance in some circumstances. It can be very difficult for DIY investors to anticipate these effects, but professional fund selectors can add value here. They understand the industry and the pressures of portfolio management which may impact managers switching fund houses.

What will the transition process be like?

Transitions are key in any manager’s departure. A smooth changeover is important both for the outgoing manager and the incoming one, and difficulty here can have a negative impact on performance in the shorter term.

For Pease, this transition looks likely to be steady and stable. Simon’s Rowe’s management of the two remaining funds at Henderson feels like a natural progression from co-manager, and with a few months until he moves on, Pease has plenty of time to hand them over properly.

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