By Dylan Emery Beeson Gregory is entering the mutual funds market for the first time with a pan-...
By Dylan Emery
Beeson Gregory is entering the mutual funds market for the first time with a pan-European product run by former Dresdner RCM managers.
This is the investment banks' first entry into fund management and the company intends to draw on its in-house expertise to support the launch of a range of specialist funds to both retail and institutional investors.
The three-strong European team consists of Andrew Impey and Caroline Watson, who ran a UK small-cap portfolio for Dresdner, and Tony Parker, a European small-cap specialist. The team has some 40 years of investment experience within it.
Beeson Gregory is aiming to get authorisation and Ucits certification from the Luxembourg authorities this month and hopes to be registered for sale in other European countries a few months later.
The primary target markets are Germany, Scandinavia, Switzerland and France. BG will also take on the more challenging UK market.
The euro-denominated fund will be initially sold on an institutional basis to Beeson Gregory's clients, but this will be extended into the retail market. A share class with a E1,000 minimum has already been created for the purpose. The other two classes require a E100,000 minimum investment.
The fund will be administered by DEXIA BIL in Luxembourg but run from Beeson Gregory's London office. It will invest in 70-80 companies, with a maximum market cap of E1bn.
The group is a specialist in small-cap and technology companies: the bank brings small companies to market and on the private equity side it has a particular focus on technology companies. At the start of the year, it carried out a £20m sponsorship deal with Oxford University chemistry faculty in exchange for a 50% stake in any companies spun off from innovations.
Impey, Watson and Parker will be running what is basically a growth portfolio, but there will be no strict sectoral mandate in favour of technology.
This is the start of a long-term move into European asset management. Beeson Gregory has the analysis capabilities but not the fund management expertise and so will recruit more teams of fund managers to run the other specialist funds as the range grows.
Graham Bowden, Beeson Gregory Investment Management's head of sales, said: "Our long-term goal is to increase the size of our investment management division. Where we will add value is as a specialist adviser in specialist products. Small-cap investment is consistent with our small-cap expertise and we believe there are opportunities in the small-cap market. Of course, it is not going to be easy but then it is not for any market."
Bowden cited the Neuer Markt as containing the type of companies the fund will be focusing on. That market's performance over the past two years, a peak followed by a trough, indicates that there are now opportunities to be found, Bowden said.
The company plans to launch more funds in the future and the Dresdner team is capable of running UK-only and a European-only small-cap funds, he added. However, Bowden said he does not want to distract the investment team from running what he hopes will become a flagship product of the new range.
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