Leading Funds Rebrand and Refocus in November

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Jupiter Global Financials rebrands as Jupiter Financial Innovation, while a raft of new funds capitalise on growing demand for sustainable investment 

Emma Simon 28 November, 2018 | 2:04PM

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This month a number of leading funds looked to rebrand and refocus their investment remit. This has been partly driven by necessity - such as the merger of two leading fund management houses, such as Standard Life Investments and Aberdeen Asset Management.

But this is also a result of the changing world we live in, whether it is technology transforming specific sectors, or emerging markets becoming more complex and mature.

The theme of a changing world can also be seen in a raft of new fund launches this month.

As Liontrust’s six-month results showed, there is growing demand from investors for more sustainable investment options. Many larger fund managers have launched ESG-themed ETFs and funds over the past year, and this month a couple of specialist boutique managers have announced plans for a new UCITS fund and an investment trust with a specific focus on climate change and energy efficiency.

In part these funds aim to identify new investment opportunities, but also help investors manage and mitigate risks associated with climate change, by not ending up with investment portfolios with high weightings to older carbon-heavy industries – which may prove to be less profitable in future.

Jupiter Embraces Fintech and Innovation

Jupiter has rebranded its flagship Global Financials Fund to reflect the digital transformation in this sector. The four-star rated fund, managed by Guy de Blonay, will now be known as the Financial Innovation fund. Jupiter says the fund has “naturally evolved” over the past decade and now includes companies that sit outside more traditional definitions of financial firms.

The aim of the fund is to achieve long-term capital growth by investing in companies linked to financial innovation, including mobile finance, data analytics, payments and financial infrastructure companies as well as early adopter companies such as JP Morgan Chase who are embracing these digital changes. 

Nimmo Takes Over Three Aberdeen Funds

Standard Life’s star fund manager Harry Nimmo will take over three small-cap equity funds that were previously run by Ben Ritchie and his team at Aberdeen Asset Management.

This transfer is the latest re-organisation following the merger of Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life Investments.

Aberdeen UK Smaller Companies Equity Fund, the European Smaller Companies Equity Fund and the UK Mid-Cap Equity Fund will all transfer to Nimmo’s seven-strong investment team.

Nimmo will run the UK Smaller Companies fund, while team member Andrew Paisley will run the European mandate, with Abby Glennie taking over the Mid-Cap fund.

This team already manages a number of SLI’s funds including its Gold-rated £1.4 billion UK Smaller Companies.

… And Aberdeen Rebrands Asian Trust

Aberdeen Asian Smaller Companies Investment Trust has had a name change and will now been known as Aberdeen Standard Asia Focus (AAS).

The trust will now be run by veteran manager Hugh Young, who is head of Asia Pacific at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

As part of this transformation, the trust will move towards a more concentrated portfolio of stocks, with an average of 60 rather than 80 holdings.

The management fee is being reduced from 1% to 0.96% and it has two new board members.

Trust chairman Nigel Cayzer says having a more focused portfolio of ‘best in class smaller companies” would have a positive effect on the trust’s performance.

He adds: “As Asian markets are becoming larger and more complex we have, in conjunction with Hugh Young and the team in Singapore sought to streamline the investment approach, while retaining the focus required to continue building on the success of the past 23 years.”

Octopus Launches UK Multi-Cap Income Fund

Boutique manager Octopus Investments is launching a new Multi-Cap Income fund, which will be managed by Chris McVey. The manager says this is in response to investor demand for more income options in the current low interest rate environment. The fund will invest in a wider range of business from the FTSE 100, as well as small- and mid-cap companies to avoid concentration in too few stocks. The group points out that within the UK income sector, three quarters of income funds hold the 10 stocks in the FTSE 100 that represent 54% of forecast dividend payments for 2018.

The fund will target a yield of 4% and will pay income quarterly. It will sit alongside the Octopus Micro Cap Growth fund, which is managed by the same team, and follows a similar bottom-up investment approach.

BMO Ditches F&C Brands

BMO Global Asset Management has now phased out the F&C brand and has renamed all funds 'BMO'. This includes its flagship Navigator and Lifestyle multi-manager fund ranges, run by Gary Potter and Rob Burdett. This fund range will now be known as BMO MM Navigator Distribution, rather than the F&C Navigator Distribution fund. However, the F&C Investment Trust (FCIT), which celebrated its 150th birthday earlier this year, will keep its name. Chelsea Financial Services says investors do not need to do anything, as the changes do not affect the way their investments are managed. The only impact is that the fund names will now be different on all statements, marketing and fund literature.

Wellington Launches Climate Change Fund

Wellington Management is the latest boutique investment firm to launch a climate change fund. This UCITS fund will be managed by Alan Hsu, the global industry analyst at the firm. It will incorporate a number of themes including low-carbon electricity, energy efficiency, water and resource management and low-carbon transport. Hsu says: “We believe climate science, public policy and technology improvements will move us to a low-carbon future, with clear winners and losers along the way.”

Last month the firm launched a specialist financial technology fund.

Liontrust Sees Demand for Sustainable Investments

Liontrust says its assets under management have been boosted by a surge in demand for sustainable investment funds. The manager has seen net inflows rise to £732 million in the six months to September 30, and this was largely due to “significantly higher demand” for the sustainable investment funds acquired from Alliance Trust. On this sustainable investment team, assets under management have grown from £2.5 billion in April to 2017 to £3.4 billion by the end of September.

Liontrust says this increase was “unexpected” and it had underestimated demand for “this proven investment style”.

New Energy Efficiency Investment Trust IPO

A new investment trust, which will invest exclusively in the energy efficiency sector, has is hoping to raise £150m when it lists on the main London market in the coming weeks.

The trust – known as SEEIT – will be managed by Sustainable Development Capital.

Sustainable Development Capital has been investing in infrastructure projects in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia, and will seek to identify projects delivering lower cost and more reliable energy solutions for SEEIT investors.

It will initially invest in nine projects. The trust will be chaired by Tony Roper, a former fund manager of HICL Infrastructure.

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Emma Simon

Emma Simon  is a financial journalist, specialising in investment and consumer issues, writing for Morningstar.co.uk