Richard Woolnough, manager of £343m in fixed interest money at Old Mutual Asset Management (OMAM), h...
Richard Woolnough, manager of £343m in fixed interest money at Old Mutual Asset Management (OMAM), has left to join M&G while Ashton Bradbury is stepping down as manager of Omam's £173m UK Select Smaller Companies fund in January next year.
Woolnough, manager of the £196.4m Corporate Bond and £146.6m UK fixed Interest funds, has a six-month notice period at Omam and will continue to manage the two funds for the foreseeable future. However, it is believed the two groups are in discussions to release him from his responsibilities early.
Bradbury will hand over management of the UK Select Smaller Companies fund to Daniel Nickols, manager of the Old Mutual UK Smaller Companies fund. This will allow him to spend more time focusing running mid-cap money, with his UK Select Mid Cap fund and the UK Specialist Equity hedge fund, which predominantly invests in mid caps.
When Woolnough joins M&G, the group plans to launch a fund for him, designed to fit between its existing investment grade and high-yield portfolios. It will have the flexibility to invest across the full spectrum.
Woolnough will report to Jim Leaviss, head of retail fixed income at M&G.
Andrew Lightbown, director of sales and marketing at Omam, said the group has been planning to strengthen its bond team for some time to make it less dependant on Woolnough. As a result, the group expects to announce a replacement in the coming weeks.
He said: 'We have been closely examining ways of increasing the level of expertise on the bond desk, specifically in the area of credit. We also have plans to increase our product range.'
At Omam Woolnough reports to Sofia Skalistri, who has a team of five, each of whom analyse specific sectors within the corporate bond universe. Nickols has been at Old Mutual for two years, running the UK Smaller Companies fund from June last year, over which time he has built up a strong track record.
Over one year to 28 July, the fund is ranked fourth out of 69 in the UK Smaller Companies sector, just one below Bradbury's. It returned 19.7% on an offer-to-bid basis, compared to the sector average growth of 5%.
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