Fund Times: 7 - 11 April

New Star hires three new fund managers & drops Kerr in favour of Thakrar on Global Equity fund; Hambi steps down as Gartmore multi-manager head; U.S. SEC charges U.K. hedge fund with late fund trading; JPM launch Global Consumer Trends Fund; and Aegon raid Morley property team – again.

Tom Whitelaw 11 April, 2008 | 3:14PM
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New Star Hires Three New Fund Managers
New Star Asset Management this week announced the appointment of two UK equity fund managers, Charles Deptford and Trevor Green, who will join at the end of June 2008. Deptford joins New Star from Baring where he ran Baring Equity Income and Baring UK Growth, while Green joins from RCM (UK), where he ran the RCM UK Growth Fund, the RCM UK High Alpha Fund and the RCM UK Mid-Cap Fund. Deptford and Green will work with Stephen Whittaker in an effort to improve the performance of">New Star Equity Income and New Star UK Growth. The pair will also work with former Newton star Toby Thompson on New Star Higher Income. In addition David Cornell has joined the group from BDT Investment Management. Cornell will be part of the eight-strong emerging markets team, and has more than 12 years' experience of emerging markets management.

New Star Drop Kerr in Favour of Thakrar on Global Equity Fund
In what has been a busy week for the group, New Star has announced that Hitesh Thakrar will assume management of the £41.59 million New Star Global Equity Fund with immediate effect. He replaces Greg Kerr who has run the fund since July 2006. The change is understandable given the recent performance of Global Equity: The fund has lost a staggering 25% over the last 12 months compared to a fall of just 2.33% for its Morningstar Global Large Cap Blend category. New Star say that Kerr will now focus on his North American mandates and institutional responsibilities.

Hambi Steps Down as Gartmore Fund of Funds Head
Gartmore’s long serving multi-manager head Bambos Hambi has stepped down this week after the group decided to conduct a strategic review of its multi-manager range. Gartmore hope the review will reduce the number of funds in the range, which will then require a smaller team to manage. Tony Lanning, who joined the firm in November 2007 from Arbuthnot, will lead the multi-manager division through the restructure.

U.S. SEC Charges U.K. Hedge Fund With Late Fund Trading
Another UK hedge fund operator has been accused by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of fraudulently late trading mutual fund shares at the expense of American investors. The regulator brought a civil action against hedge fund advisor Headstart Advisers Ltd. (HAL) and its chief investment advisor Najy Nasser this week. The SEC's litigation release alleges that "HAL's advisory client, Headstart Fund Ltd., obtained approximately $198 million in illicit profits through this scheme, at the expense of U.S. mutual funds and their shareholders. HAL placed orders on behalf of its client, the Headstart Fund, to buy, redeem, or exchange mutual fund shares after the 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) market close while still receiving the current day's mutual fund price. This illegal practice enabled Headstart Fund to profit — at the expense of other shareholders in the U.S. mutual funds — from market events that occurred after 4:00 p.m. ET, but that were not reflected in the price that Headstart Fund paid for the mutual fund shares." The SEC had announced it was suing Pentagon Capital--another UK hedge fund group, just last week.

Aegon Raid Morley Property Team – Again
After poaching high profile property managers Gerardine Davies, Philip Clark and David Wise from Morley last year, Aegon have made a fresh raid on the group. This time they picked off Christopher Wakefield, an asset manager working on the Norwich Property Trust, and Helen Batten, an asset manager who worked on a pooled pension fund worth over £1 billion.

JPM Launch Global Consumer Trends Fund
JP Morgan Asset Management this week launched the JPM Global Consumer Trends Fund. It aims to profit from the evolution of human behaviour and consumption patterns across the globe. As such it will concentrate on three key areas: demographic changes, health and well-being and aspirations and luxury. It's not uncommon for managers to take such factors into account in sector selection and stock-picking, so it's unclear just what will differentiate the JPM offering yet. Invesco's U.S. subsidiary, Aim Investments, offered a demographics fund focused on US equities called Aim Dent Demographics early this decade, but merged it out of existence in 2005 following a spate of poor performance. The JPM portfolio will contain between 40-100 stocks and be managed in an unconstrained fashion.

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Tom Whitelaw  

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