December Reveals Good News for Savers as Last

NEWS YOU CAN USE: New savings products, Buxton's fund management buy-out, a further blow for Woodford and a new tech fund round off the year

Emma Simon 3 January, 2018 | 10:51AM
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A new year is a time for reflection, and all the statistics show this has been another bumper year for investors, with the bull run continuing in developed and emerging markets alike. 

But there was also some good news for savers this month. Despite November’s Bank of England interest rate rise, saving rates have remained stubbornly low.

But National Savings & Investments delivered an early Christmas present with news that it was relaunching its popular one- and three-year guaranteed growth and income bonds, which will pay up to 2.2%.

Star fund managers were also in the news last month. Veteran manager Richard Buxton, who is also chief executive of Old Mutual Global Investors, has completed a management buyout of part of the firm’s fund business. However, while he has yet to unveil this new company name, he says it won’t include his own name in its branding.

Many have drawn comparisons to another star manager, Neil Woodford, who set up his own investment business three years ago. December has proved to be another testing month for Woodford as Architas dropped the flagship fund, although figures published in December show private investors do not appear to have lost faith; Woodford Equity Income was the second most bought fund of 2017. 

Buxton Buy-Out of OMGI Funds

Richard Buxton, the veteran fund manager, has completed a management buy-out of part of Old Mutual’s fund business. This £600 million deal will see the management team, and private equity firm TA Associates, take over its ‘Single Strategy’ funds. This part of the business has around £25 billion assets under management. As the name suggests it focuses on funds which invest in a single asset.

Most of the senior management team will move over to this new venture, which has yet to be named. OMGI’s multi- asset business will stay with the parent company.

Fundsmith and Woodford Top Fund Sales

Morningstar Gold-rated Fundmith Equity, run by veteran manager Terry Smith, has been the most popular fund this year, according to the Bestinvest platform. 

Strong sales of this fund made it a “clear and decisive winner” according to Bestinvest’s Jason Hollands. 

Investors favoured active fund managers, with Woodford Equity Income in second place.

Bestinvest notes that despite coming second overall for the year, Woodford Equity Income has slipped down the monthly inflows rankings, as the fund fell to the bottom of the sector performance tables.

Further Blow for Woodford

Architas is the latest multi-manager to drop Woodford Equity Income from its fund range. Architas confirmed this month that it had pulled £34 million from its multi-manager and multi-asset fund range.

This follows similar action by Jupiter and Aviva. Woodford Equity Income has suffered from poor performance in recent months, relative to peers, causing the manager to issue an apology to investors. 

BNP Paribas Launches New Tech Fund

BNP Paribas is the latest fund manager hoping to capitalise on the interest in artificial intelligence and other ‘disruptive’ technologies. 

The fund manager has launched the Parvest Disruptive Technology fund, which will be managed by Pam Hegarty. 

This will be a sub-fund of the Luxembourg-registered Parvest SICAV, which currently has €181 million under management. A spokesman for BNP Paribas said: “Innovative technology is enabling significant transformation across the global economy. Current secular themes include cloud computing, artificial intelligence and data analytics, automation and robotics, augmented and virtual reality and the internet of things.

“These themes have wide-reaching implications across sectors such as industrials, healthcare, financial services, consumer and energy.” 

Newton Attempt Second Income Fund Merger

Newton Investment Management is once again proposing to merge two of its income funds, after initial plans were shelved by shareholders.

The fund management group wants to merge its Multi Asset Income fund with £69 million assets under management, with its £66 million Managed Income fund.

A merger was previously rejected by shareholders as the cost of this would be borne by the new fund. Under the new proposals these costs will be met by the authorised corporate director.

If accepted the funds will merge at the end of January. Newton has argued that the funds deliver similar outcomes, and investors would benefit from the economies of scale achieved with a larger fund. The combined fund would be managed by Paul Flood, who currently runs the Multi-Asset Income Fund. 

Artemis Poaches Polar Capital Manager

Artemis has strengthened its UK equity income team, with the appointment of Andy Marsh, currently a partner and a fund manager at Polar Capital.

Marsh, who will join the fund management group in February, will work alongside Adrian Frost and Nick Shenton on the Artemis’ flagship income fund. This fund previously had three managers, until Adrian Gosden left the company a year ago. 

Marsh has been at Polar Capital since 2006, where he was manager on the company’s European Forager fund. Artemis Income has substantially outperformed its benchmark in recent years, and has a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Bronze. 

Standard Life Investment Duo Join Aviva

The former head of equities at Standard Life Investments is joining Aviva Investors this month, as chief investment officer. 

David Cumming left the Scottish investment group in March this year, following the merger with Aberdeen Asset Management. He will join former SLI colleague Euan Munro who is now chief executive of Aviva Investors. Munro was one of the founding members of the highly successful Global Absolute Return Strategies (GARS) team at SLI.

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
Rating
Artemis Income I Acc5.46 GBP-0.54Rating
ASSII-Gb AbRt Str D Acc EUR12.55 EUR-0.89Rating
BNP Paribas Disrpt Tech I C2,186.79 EUR1.09Rating
BNY Mellon Mlt-Asst Income Sterling Inc1.19 GBP-0.52Rating
Fundsmith Equity I Acc6.11 GBP0.43Rating
LF Equity Income C Sterling Acc3.90 GBP0.00

About Author

Emma Simon

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