Lazard Asset Management closed its £58m UK Growth fund last week and will focus solely on marketing ...
Lazard Asset Management closed its £58m UK Growth fund last week and will focus solely on marketing its flagship Alpha fund range.
The closure of the UK Growth fund, at one time managed by Tim Russell, was prompted by the portfolio's major shareholder opting to move to a segregated mandate.
Although Lazards has retained this money, which constituted around 90% of the fund's assets, it would have left the remainder as economically unviable.
Investors were given the option of free switches into the group's UK Alpha and offshore UK Equity funds, or the offshore Millbank Global Growth and Millbank UK Growth portfolios, both of which are run by Lazards.
The UK Growth, UK Alpha and offshore UK Equity fund, part of the group's Dublin Oeic, are jointly managed by Simon Roberts and Tony Willis.
Kerry Nelson, an intermediary at Bates Investment Services, said the group's UK Growth and UK Alpha funds have been run with increasingly similar mandates of late, which is reflected in their one-year numbers.
Over the 12 months to 2 December, UK Growth returned -13.53% on a bid-to-bid basis, while UK Alpha posted a fall of 13.49% and the sector delivered an -18.27% return.
The offshore UK Equity fund marginally outperformed its sister funds, returning -14.9% over the same period, versus a UK Equity sector average of -20.9%.
Lazards will be actively promoting its AA-rated UK Alpha and A-rated European Alpha funds for the coming Isa season and has already secured places on a number of leading intermediaries' recommended lists.
Ben Yearsley, investment manager at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the Bristol-based brokers, who hold UK Alpha in their fund of funds, will work with Lazards in a mailshoot next year.
He added: 'We will start promoting UK Alpha in the New Year, now they are looking at getting involved with our mailing campaigns.'
Lazards' renewed marketing push comes on the back of a significant change in its corporate structure. The group, a private partnership founded back in 1848, has for the first time given its key investment professionals equity-related bonus schemes linked to the performance of the group following the recent capitalisation of the business.
While able to breed fund manager talent, Lazards has struggled to retain key personnel in the past, as evidenced by the loss of Tim Russell to HSBC, Lynne Ross's departure to Jupiter and Richard Smith and the UK smaller companies team's switch to Invesco Perpetual earlier this year.
Now the group can offer more competitive incentive schemes to both analysts and fund managers, it is hoped staff retention levels will improve.
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