By Mark Colegate John Duffield has recruited Norwich Union's Mark Skinner to head up New Star Asset ...
By Mark Colegate
John Duffield has recruited Norwich Union's Mark Skinner to head up New Star Asset Management's push into the intermediary market with three retail funds.
Skinner, sales and marketing director at Norwich Union Investment Funds, has been recruited alongside two other colleagues, Mark Hilliam, head of sales, and Greg Jones, head of national accounts and partnerships. The pair are to become directors of sales at New Star.
The trio will have three funds to offer intermediaries from July this year. Alan Miller, who previously ran Jupiter Special Situations, is to run a UK growth fund, it is believed Richard Pease will manage a European fund and there will also be a UK income product. New Star is currently negotiating with a fund manger to run this portfolio.
New Star, which received Imro authorisation in November last year, is going to launch an Oeic for the retail market. Duffield said: "There is very little to choose between these and a unit trust but Mark is used to Oeics from his time at Norwich Union."
Duffield has tried to recruit Skinner before. When Jamie Campbell departed Jupiter in January 1998, Duffield said his first choice as a replacement unit trust managing director was Skinner, who subsequently left Barings for Norwich Union. Duffield is planning to build the retail range up to around 10 funds over the course of several years.
New Star intends to target not only the retail market but also develop alternative investment products, namely hedge funds and investment trusts, for the institutional market.
Duffield said: "The whole market, both retail and institutional, is polarising. Most of the money, perhaps 80%, is conservative and moving towards indexation, which is even more conservative. The minority is more adventurous. I think the middle ground will be vacated.
"Some of this also applies to the retail market. High net worth individuals are considering hedge funds and over the long term this could spread to smaller clients, such as holders of unit trusts."
Duffield would not be drawn on whether or not he had a set timetable for building New Star up as a business. He said: "When I was at Jupiter, Commerzbank always wanted to know what my long term plan was; I never had one. I want to grow the business. I think you can only plan ahead one year at most."
Duffield confirmed that New Star was still in the market for acquisitions, definitely for one and possibly for two businesses. He described his possible war-chest as containing "a few hundreds of millions."
Founding members of New Star such as Alan Miller and fund managers WorldInvest, which Duffield purchased for a total of £14m in December last year, are being incentivised with equity ownership of the company, and it is anticipated this will also hold true for Pease.
WorldInvest has a total of £1.2bn in assets, a quarter of which are in bonds, and has three senior and eight junior fund managers. Duffield said they could be used to run retail portfolios in the future.
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