By James Thorneley The former manager of Scottish Widows European fund Albert Morillo is to manage I...
By James Thorneley
The former manager of Scottish Widows European fund Albert Morillo is to manage Investec Guinness Flight's European unit trust and two offshore funds from mid-March.
Morillo, based in Edinburgh, runs European equity funds for the US boutique fund manager BlackRock. Last week Investec and BlackRock established a distribution and investment advisory agreement, subject to appropriate approvals.
Under the agreement BlackRock has been appointed investment advisors to Investec's core retail European equity funds - one unit trust and two Guernsey funds.
In return Investec has acq-uired exclusive rights to promote BlackRock's European investment expertise to retail fund investors in the UK, continental Europe and South Africa.
In January Morillo joined BlackRock from Scottish Widows where he was head of European equities and managed the group's £585.5m European unit trust. Over three years to 2 February Scottish Widows European is ranked 17 out of 89 rising by 92.5% compared to an average rise of 79% in the Europe ex UK sector. During the same period Investec European was ranked 61 out of 89 and rose by 66.3%.
As part of his investment process Morillo studies European indices to consider what could go wrong, believing a concentrated portfolio of 35 stocks helps maintain a clear focus on risk.
His investment style is stock specific rather than sector and country oriented.
When he took up his position with BlackRock he was joined by Kenneth Anderson and David Stanistreet who both worked alongside him at Scottish Widows as investment directors of the European team. With their departure from Scottish Widows Rothschilds fund of funds team led by Gary Potter and Robert Burdett reviewed the situation and decided to sell out of the unit trust. Burdett said that he was currently fully invested in Europe, but if he received any new money he would consider investing in the Investec European unit trust. He added: "It is good to see Albert back in the retail market after a short break. The Investec fund will now join our reserve list."
Jamie Macleod, managing director of Investec Guinness Flight Unit Trust Managers, believes the recruitment of Morillo and his team will raise Investec's UK profile as a retail fund manager.
He said: "There are currently only three or four UK fund management groups which have good reputations at running European equities. By agreeing for Albert to manage our retail European funds Investec will now be able to compete with the established European unit trust managers."
Maclead and Morillo previously worked together at Scottish Widows. The three European funds, with assets of £108m, are currently managed by David Potts who will remain within the group's in-house pan-European team.
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