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Should you jump ship when a star manager departs?

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Investors should not be so quick to jump ship when a star manager leaves a fund, according to new research from Aegon UK which suggests most funds continue to perform well after a departure.
Should you jump ship when a star manager departs?

A raft of high profile fund manager departures has shaken up the UK fund management industry over the past year, most notably when Neil Woodford left Invesco Perpetual after more than 25 years at the business to set up his own company.

His flagship Income and High Income funds, which have been passed on to successor Mark Barnett, have subsequently seen 30% outflows since October 2013.

However, research conducted by Aegon UK on 11 funds that have seen high profile departures in recent years shows investors may be too quick to rush for the exit, as most funds left behind by star managers continue to outperform their benchmarks.

For example, when Richard Buxton (pictured) left Schroders, passing on his UK Alpha Plus fund to new hire Philip Matthews from Jupiter, outflows reached nearly half of the fund’s total AUM.

However, Schroders’ fund has performed broadly in line with Buxton’s new OMGI UK Alpha fund, returning 5.2% over the year to 18 July, according to FE, versus a 5.9% return from OMGI.

Nick Dixon, Aegon investment director, said: “Our analysis should be a wakeup call for investors: most funds continue to outperform benchmarks even after the star has departed.

“So called star managers frequently rely on the ideas and technical analyses of their wider team, who will have been mentored and developed by the star to continue their legacy and investment process after their departure.

“Resist the urge to jump ship when a star manager departs and think hard about the full costs of moving your money; potential fees, out of market risk, and missing likely gains from your existing fund can all quickly add up.”

However, staying put is not always the wisest choice: two of the 11 funds analysed – Fidelity European and Jupiter Financial Opportunities – have seen a significant pullback in performance after their respective manager changes in 2009 and 2011.

Below is a table detailing Aegon’s analysis. 


Fund Star manager Start month End month % pa growth vs benchmark New manager % pa growth vs benchmark
Fidelity Special Situations Anthony Bolton Dec-85 * Jan-08 5.3 Sanjeev Shah & Alex Wright 1.9
Schroder UK Alpha Plus Richard Buxton Jun-02 Jun-13 4.1 Philip Matthews 2.8
Liontrust UK Growth Jeremy Lang Apr-96 Mar-09 1.8 Anthony Cross / Julian Fosh 2.6
Henderson EU Select Opportunities Roger Guy Dec-93 Jan-10 3.8 John Bennett 2.2
Schroder European Opportunities Chris Rice Dec-02 Jun-13 0.9 Steve Cordell 5.3
Jupiter European Special Situations Leon Howard-Spink Apr-01 Jul-05 6.4 Cedric de Fonclare 1.6
Axa Framlington UK Smaller Companies Rodger Whiteoak Jul-01 Feb-08 8.2 Henry Lowson 2.3
Schroder Tokyo Dennis Clough Jun-89 Mar-04 7 Andrew Rose 0.8
Schroder Income Nick Purves Oct-03 May-10 2.2 Nick Kirrage 1.8
Jupiter Financial Opportunities Philip Gibbs Jun-97 Oct-11 12.4 Robert Mumby -2.4
Fidelity European Tim McCarron Jan-03 Sep-09 0.8 Samuel Morse -0.6

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