Talking With Neil Woodford

Neil Woodford, Head of Investment, Woodford Investment Management talks transparency, doing things differently and equestrian sports with Richard Romer-Lee, Square Mile.

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Square Mile Suspend Ratings on the Aviva Investors Multi Strategy Target Return and Aviva Investors Multi Strategy Target Income Funds

Following the recently announced changes to the management team and structure at Aviva Investors, and the corresponding changes to the named fund managers on the Aviva Investors Multi Strategy Target Return and Target Income funds, we have taken the decision to suspend our ratings on the two funds. We feel that the changes are significant enough that we would like to meet the management team of the funds to discuss their implications more fully before coming to a firm conclusion on how they will affect the funds

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Fund Rating Removal

Following the news today of the impending departure of Matthew Vaight, manager of the M&G Global Emerging Markets fund, who is looking to pursue other opportunities when he leaves towards this year, we have decided to remove the fund from our Academy. Mr Vaight has been with M&G for over 20 years and has also been head of the team behind this strategy for some time. He has been in charge of this fund since its launch in 2009 and the M&G Asian fund since 2008. We feel this upcoming manager change is significant enough to warrant action being taken and as such have unfortunately decided to remove our A rating and the fund from the Academy.

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New Aviva Investors and Baillie Gifford Talking Factsheets Added to the Academy

We have added three new Talking Factsheet to the Square Mile Academy of Funds, featuring Research Managers, Amaya Assan and John Monaghan, reviewing the objectives and risks and giving their views of the funds. 

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Square Mile introduces the Liontrust UK Smaller Companies fund and the TwentyFour Strategic Income fund to the Academy of Funds

We are pleased to introduce the Liontrust UK Smaller Companies fund with a AA rating and Liontrust UK Smaller Companies fund with an A rating into the Square Mile Academy of Funds.

The Liontrust UK Smaller Companies fund is managed by Liontrust's Economic Advantage team who are well known to us through our coverage of their Special Situations strategy. In Anthony Cross, this fund draws on a highly experienced investor who has been associated with it for over 20 years. We have also closely monitored the progress of Mr Cross' fellow co-managers, Victoria Stevens and Matthew Tonge, who were added to the team in 2015.

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Job Opportunity – Portfolio and Platform Operations Manager

Square Mile are looking for a Portfolio and Platform Operations Manager to manage the operational aspects of our Managed Portfolio Service and related platform administration.

The candidate will be expected to have a number of years of experience of platforms and a knowledge of centralised investment propositions and the management of model portfolios on platforms.

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The Beauty Parade

Keynes famously used an allegory of a beauty contest to describe how markets behave in the short term. He posed the question of how you should go about betting on the outcome of a beauty contest. To be successful, you should not bet on who you think is the most beautiful contestant but those who you think the judges will consider to be the most beautiful. His point is subtle but distinct.

James Montier at GMO recently highlighted some apparent inconsistencies in the results of the Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey. He points out that a significant majority of fund managers now believe the US market to be overvalued,

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New Invesco Perpetual Talking Factsheet Added to the Academy

We have added a new Talking Factsheet to the Square Mile Academy of Funds, featuring Research Team Manager, Amaya Assan, reviewing the objectives and risks and giving her views of the Invesco Perpetual Asian fund.

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Update on the Trojan Income team

Despite the recent news that one of the fund's deputy managers, Mark Wharrier, has left Troy Asset Management (TAM) we have decided not to make any changes to the fund's AA rating. Mr Wharrier joined TAM during 2017 and although he has lengthy experience of running UK equity income mandates, we do not believe his departure will materially impact the management of this strategy.

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Fund Rating Suspension

We have decided to suspend the AA Rating of the BlackRock Continental European Income fund. This follows the news today that co-manager, Alice Gaskell, had decided to take a break from fund management to spend more time with her family. Andreas Zoellinger will continue to manage the strategy and has been a co-manager of this fund since its launch in 2011.

We would prefer to give Mr Zoellinger and the European equity team some time to settle down following this development and understand any changes this might bring in terms of the wider research and fund management resources.

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