OMGI switches manager of its Asian equity funds, post-review

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Old Mutual Global Investors said that it is moving the management of its two Asian equity funds, currently managed from Hong Kong, to its global equities desk in London, headed by Ian Heslop, following a review.

Even though the funds will now be managed out of OMGI’s offices on Lambeth Hill near St Paul’s Cathedral (pictured above), no one will be relocating to London from Hong Kong, a spokesperson said.

Josh Crabb and the rest of OMGI’s Asian equities team “will be leaving the business in May to pursue other opportunities”, OMGI said in a statement today, which added that Hong Kong would “remain a core distribution centre for OMGI going forward”.

In its statement, the asset manager said that a review of its funds business had indicated that investors in the $179.7m Old Mutual Pacific Equity Fund, and the $420.7m Old Mutual Asian Equity Income Fund, would “benefit from the management of OMGI’s global equities team”.

It noted that the OMGI global equities desk had significant experience in managing Asian equity strategies, and that this, combined with strong performance in the asset class, meant that its UK-domiciled Old Mutual Asia Pacific Fund  hat is already managed by the desk had delivered 68% versus the benchmark (MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex-Japan index) return of 44.3%, over three years.

The switch-over is scheduled to take place officially on 18 May, OMGI said.

‘Systematic investment process’

Following the change, the investment approach of the funds will be amended to reflect the systematic investment process employed by OMGI’s global equities team, whereby stocks will be assessed in terms of the attractiveness of their valuation, quality, price trends, stable growth prospects, sentiment and company management, as opposed to the current bottom-up approach.

There will be no change to either fund’s objective or ongoing fees.

As reported, Old Mutual Wealth, which is now calling itself Quilter, last September announced its intention to divide OMGI into two separate, distinct businesses: multi-asset and single strategy.

The multi-asset business, which is to re-brand this year as Quilter Investors this year, was managing assets under advice and administration at the end of last year of £16.9bn, and is seen as a part of Quilter’s core strategy.

The single strategy business is being sold to its existing management team, headed up by OMGI chief executive Richard Buxton, and TA Associates, a private equity firm, for around £600m.

The deal, announced in late December, is expected to complete later this year. As of 31 December, this business had gross assets under management of £26.9bn, although this figure includes investments managed on behalf of the multi-asset business.

To view a brief (3 minute, 22-second) interview of Hislop last August at an event sponsored by International Investment’s sister title, InvestmentEurope, in Lausanne, Switzerland, last August, click here.