UK Special Situations Fund Under Review After 'Disappointing' Departure

Whitmore is not the first Jupiter manager to leave for a new venture in the last few months

Ollie Smith 9 January, 2024 | 3:39PM Sunniva Kolostyak
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Morningstar has today placed Jupiter Asset Management's £2.15 billion Special Situations fund under review following the resignation of lead portfolio manager Ben Whitmore.

Whitmore will leave the firm in July this year to launch his own value equity fund house, subject to regulatory approvals and a Jupiter-imposed two-year non-compete clause.

Special Situations co-manager Dermot Murphy and investment director Claudia Ripley will also be leaving. Responsibility for managing the fund will then pass to Alex Savvides, who joins from JO Hambro Capital Management.

"Whitmore was an investor we rated highly, and his departure is disappointing," says Morningstar equity strategy analyst Daniel Nilsson.

"Given his pivotal role in the strategy since late-2006, we have placed the Jupiter UK Special Situations fund under review. A formal review of the strategy will be completed shortly and our updated view will be published soon after."

Whitmore is not the only manager to announce a departure from Jupiter in the last few months.

In December, Morningstar also placed Jupiter's UK Mid Cap fund under review following news that lead manager Richard Watts would depart in 2024 to set up a new business with Nick Williamson, his co-manager on the Chrysalis investment trust. Tim Service, a veteran of Jupiter since 2007, will run the UK Mid Cap offering thereafter.

Morningstar previously placed the Jupiter Income Trust under review in December. It too is managed by Whitmore and will be run by Adrian Gosden and Chris Morrison, who are joining the business from GAM this month.

Today, shares in parent company Jupiter Fund Management are down nearly 15% as investors absorb news of the departures, and accompanying outflows from its strategies.

Commenting on the outflows, a spokesperson for Jupiter said the company was now expecting "an incrementally more negative flow outcome than we had anticipated."

"At the start of the year we stated that our internal forecasts were for 'modest net outflows' for 2023," they said.

"While we reaffirmed this expectation with the traing update in October 2023, a delay in the funding of some institutional mandates combined with weaker-than-anticipated retail sentiment in October and November 2023 has led to an incrementally more negative flow outcome than we had anticipated.

"Total net outflows for 2023 are expected to be £2.2 billion."

Jupiter chief executive Matthew Beesley said he wished Whitmore well.

"Having worked at Jupiter since 2006, Ben informed me of his ambition to set up a new independent value equities boutique, which has been a long-term personal aspiration for him.

"I would like to thank him sincerely for his contribution to the company and, after he leaves Jupiter, wish him well for the future."

This story is being updated as it unfolds. By Ollie Smith and Sunniva Kolostyak

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Ollie Smith

Ollie Smith  is editor of Morningstar UK

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