Bonham Carter caps a year of asset management upheaval

Another big figure in the industry steps down, but it won't spark a fund exodus

LAST UPDATED AT 13:49 ON Fri 20 Dec 2013

THE "changing of the guard" in the asset management industry continues, says Alison Smith in the FT. The latest big figure to quit "the sentry box" is Edward Bonham Carter, who is stepping down as head of Jupiter Fund Management after 14 years. He'll be replaced by Maarten Slendebroek, who joined last year from BlackRock.

Bonham Carter (older brother of Helena) "has a strong following in the City", but he hasn't run a fund since 2009 so there's "little danger of an exodus of customers' money", says James Salmon in the Daily Mail. Still, his move caps "a year of upheaval" in Britain's biggest funds, with a string of star managers jumping ship. They include including Schroders' Richard Buxton and - "arguably the most successful of them all" - Invesco Perpetual's Neil Woodford. Given the billions under management, the upheaval is a "disconcerting trend" for investors.

Investors in Woodford's two flagship equity income funds have been torn about whether to follow the maestro out of the door, says Joshua Ausden on FE Trustnet.com. Outflows of £2bn since he announced his departure in October suggest many are voting with their feet. What does that mean for those remaining?

The biggest criticism levelled at multibillion funds is "their poor liquidity, and questionable ability to cope with mass redemptions". Indeed, Invesco has had to trim its holdings to pay off investors exiting Woodford's funds, says Robert St George on Citywire. So far, the "Woodford sell-off" includes shares in Capita, Drax, and Provident Financial – and the complete disposal of a stake in one his favoured smaller caps, the medical property group Assura. Much of that was immediately snapped up by rival funds.

"I am just thinking what this must be doing to Woodford's ego," remarked one Citywire commentator – prompting the instant retort: "His ego?? What about my savings?"

A version of this article appears in the 14 December 2013 edition of The Week · 

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