Insights

BNY Mellon Global Income removed from the Academy of Funds

Following the announcement that lead manager, Nick Clay, and his supporting team will be departing BNY Mellon in the coming months, we have decided to remove our A rating of the BNY Mellon Global Income fund.

Mr Clay and his team will continue to manage the fund for the time being, whilst the firm transition management of the strategy to a new Global Equity Income team. The new team will be headed by Ilga Haubelt with direct support provided by co-lead portfolio managers Robert Hay, Paul Flood and Jon Bell. In time, we will be meeting with the new team to discuss their approach and to gain further clarity around the timeline of the transition.

However, ultimately we feel that Mr Clay is key to the success of this strategy and we feel the most appropriate course of action at this point is to remove the fund's rating.

Rating suspension for the L&G UK Property fund

Following the decision by Legal and General to suspend dealing in the L&G UK Property Fund (and its associated L&G feeder fund) , we have suspended our recommended rating on the fund. The fund's valuers, Knight Frank, have advised Legal and General that there is material uncertainty over the valuation of the portfolio given uncertainty in the market in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result and in agreement with the fund's depositary, the decision has been taken to suspend trading in the fund to protect the interests of investors. Although dealing in the fund has been suspended, it will continue to be actively managed and fund reporting will continue as normal. We will continue to monitor the fund while it remains in this suspension period.

Schroder European Alpha Income removed from the Academy of Funds

Following the announcement that James Sym, manager of the Schroder European Alpha Income fund, will be leaving the firm, we have decided to remove our rating.

Mr Sym will remain in place until 31st March 2020, upon when Martin Skanberg will assume portfolio management responsibilities. Given the material change in manager, and that Mr Skanberg will be following a different investment approach, we think it is prudent to remove our rating at this juncture. We wish Mr Sym the very best in the future.

Rating suspension for the Janus Henderson UK Property PAIF fund

Following the decision by Janus Henderson to suspend dealing in the Janus Henderson UK Property PAIF (and its associated Janus Henderson PAIF feeder) , we have suspended our recommended rating on the fund. The fund's valuers, CBRE, have advised Janus Henderson that there is material uncertainty over the valuation of the portfolio given the current uncertainty in the market in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result and in agreement with the fund's depositary, the decision has been taken to suspend trading the fund to protect the interests of investors. Although dealing in the fund has been suspended, it will continue to be actively managed and fund reporting will continue as normal. We will continue to monitor the fund while it remains in this suspension period.

Square Mile's Business Continuity Plan

We have implemented the next stage of our Business Continuity Plan, where all employees of Square Mile will be working from home. The aim is to protect our staff whilst continuing to provide a full service to you, our clients, to the best of our ability. All staff are able to work from home and have full access to our systems. Please continue to contact us in the usual way, by telephone or email. Meetings We have restricted non-essential business travel and intend to continue our schedule of fund manager and client meetings by telephone or conference call until further notice. We have asked any employee who feels unwell to stay at home and if they have flu-like symptoms, to self-isolate in accordance with government guidelines. Communication Our Executive Committee is in regular contact with our staff to keep them up-to-date with the situation. It is vitally important that we continue to communicate with one another and our clients. Each team will have a call every day to update each other and ...

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Comgest Growth Europe Smaller Companies Introduced to the Academy of Funds

We are pleased to introduce the Comgest Growth Europe Smaller Companies fund into our Academy of Funds with an A rating.

We think the fund has a number of attractive features, namely, its well-established investment philosophy that is followed firmwide, and its managers, who have been investing in small and medium sized European companies for close to two decades. The fund broadens our European universe, for it invests in smaller sized companies in Europe including the UK. We believe it should appeal to discerning investors seeking long-term exposure to the region.

LF Majedie UK Equity fund reintroduced to the Academy of Funds

The LF Majedie UK Equity fund’s rating was suspended in May 2019, following the departure of Richard Staveley, who left the group, and Matthew Smith, who stepped back from this strategy to focus on the Majedie Tortoise strategy. Mr Smith was replaced by Imran Sattar, co-manager of the UK Focus fund, whilst Mr Staveley was replaced by John King. We have now met with Mr Sattar and Mr King, who joined the group in December 2019, and we believe that the fund remains in capable and competent hands. Therefore, we have decided to reintroduce the fund into the Academy of Funds with an A rating.

Legg Mason Clearbridge US Equity Sustainability Leaders Introduced to the Academy of Funds

We are delighted to announce the addition of the Legg Mason Clearbridge US Equity Sustainability Leaders fund into our Academy of Funds, with a Responsible Positive Prospect Rating.

This addition broadens out our responsible research coverage and the fund enters the Academy of Funds with our highest ESG integration assessment. Furthermore, it marks our first responsibly rated North American equity fund. We think this is a compelling option for investors seeking to gain exposure to US listed companies through a strategy where the managers invest in businesses that take ESG factors seriously, whilst avoiding those that do not.

Jupiter Absolute Return fund removed from the Academy of Funds

We have taken the decision to remove the A rating from the Jupiter Absolute Return fund. A contrarian investment stance can be an attractive feature of a fund, especially in a diversified portfolio, but, unfortunately, we have lost conviction in the fund’s management of the associated risks. In our opinion, performance since the beginning of 2019 makes it highly unlikely that the fund will meet its return objective in the medium term.

We therefore feel that we can no longer continue to rate this fund.

Legg Mason Brandywine Global Fixed Income Absolute Return rating removed

We have taken the decision to remove the rating from the Legg Mason Brandywine Global Fixed Income Absolute Return fund.

After a period of disappointing performance, the management team has altered the portfolio construction of the fund in an attempt to deliver a more defensive return profile to investors. This is an adapted approach that we would want to see bed in further before re-assessing the merits of the fund in the years ahead.

Our AA rating on the Legg Mason Brandywine Global Fixed Income fund remains unchanged.

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