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There are various ways in which future stars can cut their teeth
Thursday 21 Feb 2019 Author: James Crux

Funds frequently become so synonymous with the managers that run them that if he or she departs or retires, an investor exodus follows. Yet the success of a fund is rarely down to a single person; often a deep bench of analysts and researchers contribute to the running of a successful portfolio.

And in the event of a manager resigning, there is generally a long handover period to the new manager to ensure a smooth transition. There are also typically clear processes in place which can be maintained even after a star fund manager leaves or retires.

Nevertheless, investors should take time to understand the structure at a fund, including who makes the decisions and whether it is run on a team-basis or by a key individual. Understanding the investment process will make it easier to make an informed decision about whether to stick with the fund in the event of a manager change.


In terms of fund manager training, Shares’ research shows there is no magic formula. But the major fund management houses – think Fidelity, Schroders, BlackRock, Standard Life and Aberdeen – benefit from deep pools of analysts from which to choose trainee fund managers.

Those number-crunchers showing promise may be given a sector fund on which to cut their teeth before becoming a deputy to a portfolio manager on a bigger fund.

When Fidelity announced that fixed interest veteran Ian Spreadbury was retiring at the end of 2018 following 40 years in the business, the news had been anticipated and investors’ feathers were largely unruffled.

Succession planning had started three years earlier with the recruitment of experienced fixed income manager Sajiv Vaid from Royal London to co-manage the flagship Fidelity MoneyBuilder Income (BBGBFM0) fund.

He is now lead manager on the MoneyBuilder Income and Fidelity Extra Income (BFRT361) funds, while Tim Foster and Claudio Ferrarese assumed joint responsibility for the Fidelity Strategic Bond (BCRWZS5) fund and the analysts-turned-portfolio managers are sticking to the proven Fidelity approach.

‘Key man risk’ may be more prevalent at smaller investment firms where there is less resource – often a few analysts supporting the fund manager – and a smaller team from which to promote internally.


Schroders recently announced that Masaki Taketsume will assume formal responsibility for Schroder Tokyo Fund (B4SZR81) and Schroder Japan Growth Fund (SJG), with veteran Japanese equities specialist Andrew Rose retiring at the end of June 2019.

Taketsume, who joined Schroders as a technology analyst in 2007, will continue the same investment approach, process and style. 

‘The announcement represented the execution of the long-term succession plan for Andrew Rose and, by making an internal transition, we have been able to ensure continuity of culture and style for our clients,’ says Alex McDougall, Schroders’ head of Asian equities and equity insights.

‘As an experienced technology analyst within our Tokyo-based research team, we already had considerable confidence in Masaki’s ability to form non-consensus views on a wide range of company managements and business models.’

In terms of additional training, McDougall notes the Masaki and Rose have been collaborating since 2014 and in 2017 the former relocated to London to work as a joint fund manager.

‘In this role Masaki has participated in all internal team discussions and external company meetings. This has provided the additional breadth of experience and exposure necessary to form views on overall portfolio strategy and construction, in addition to conviction views on individual companies.’


Nick Train and Michael Lindsell are synonymous with the eponymous Lindsell Train investment house that manages the Finsbury Growth & Income Trust (FGT), Lindsell Train Investment Trust (LTI) and the Lindsell Train Japanese Equity Fund (0438418) among others.

‘We’ve been progressively hiring young people to work with Mike and myself for last 10 years,’ says Train. ‘We probably couldn’t run the business without them.

‘There is an optionality that any one of those individuals or two of them could ultimately be mine or Mike’s replacement. But there isn’t a roadmap for that happening, largely because Mike and I just want to carry on doing it.

‘It is tricky because you have these bright ambitious people who want responsibility. But Mike and I are still young (only 60) and we want to carry on for as long as we are competent and feel motivated to do so – which we do.’

Train says there is ‘a Lindsell Train-type approach’ and feels he has a strong handle on what that is.

‘I think the single most valuable thing we can do for our clients is trying to run money in that way. It will be unhelpful if we try to alter or change an aspect of our approach because we thought things might be getting tougher for a period of time. We value consistency of approach highly,’ he comments.

‘James Bullock (portfolio manager, global equities) has been with us for seven years, Madeline Wright (fund managers’ assistant) for six years and Alex Windsor-Clive (fund managers’ assistant) for three.

‘They all joined us from university with no previous investment experience. They’ve been more or less indoctrinated into what we
do. We can genuinely say there would be continuity.’

Train and Lindsell do ask their fund management apprentices to challenge their views. ‘Their first job is to understand how we do it and to understand the companies. The next job is to tell Mike and I that we are being dinosaurs and not recognising change and are being complacent. It is stimulating.’


Rising stars can forge different paths into the fund management industry. Janus Henderson Investors’ Laura Foll followed a fairly conventional route by joining Henderson in 2009 as part of the graduate scheme.

Initially cutting her teeth as a global analyst covering pharmaceuticals, Foll was later named an assistant fund manager for the global equity income team.

And she has learned the ropes by assisting and working with seasoned investor James Henderson, learning how the value-driven fund manager uses various metrics to unearth attractively valued growth and income opportunities.

Foll is now firmly established as the co-manager of Lowland Investment Company (LWI) and also co-manages Henderson Opportunities Trust (HOT), the Janus Henderson UK Equity Income & Growth Fund (0749422) and is deputy manager of Law Debenture (LWDB).

‘It is a long training process, there is a lot to learn and continuity really matters,’ explains Foll, full of admiration for her mentor Henderson yet on an equal footing and more than willing to spar with him on stocks. ‘There has to be some disagreement between co-managers,’ she explains. ‘It is pointless if you agree on everything, but we don’t veto each other’s ideas.’

Forging a strong reputation in the open-ended funds sector is Victoria Stevens, who joined Liontrust’s ‘Economic Advantage’ team in 2015 alongside Matt Tonge, tasked with analysing small cap stocks. This was an area of the investment universe in which Stevens, whose path into fund management included a spell as a journalist at City AM, was already steeped. In her previous guise as deputy head of corporate broking at FinnCap (FCAP:AIM), the well-followed Liontrust guru Anthony Cross had been one of her clients and she’d established a strong relationship with Cross and Liontrust’s Julian Fosh.

‘Once we got to Liontrust, we had a transition period where we were officially trainee fund managers,’ recounts Stevens, ‘so we had to be familiar with all the systems, procedures and compliance and we also underwent presentation training.’ Stevens accompanied Cross and Fosh to meetings with company management teams and ‘learned by osmosis’. Today she is an established manager on the Liontrust UK Micro Cap (BDFYHP1) and Liontrust UK Smaller Companies (B8HWPP4) funds. 

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