By James Thorneley Jonathan Simon is to replace Alexander Fitzalan Howard as manager of Fleming Amer...
By James Thorneley
Jonathan Simon is to replace Alexander Fitzalan Howard as manager of Fleming American investment trust. The move is part of Fleming's ongoing strategy of managing portfolios from local bases
Simon, president of Fleming Asset Management USA, will officially take over in the middle of November. He has been running the group's offshore Flagship American fund since its launch in 1998. In addition he has been managing the Jardine Fleming American Growth fund since 1991. He said the portfolio is unlikely to be run any differently to how it is now. But added the investment team being situated in one location would be an advantage
Antony Gifford, who assisted Fitzalan Howard in London, is moving over to join Simon in the group's New York offices. Fitzalan Howard has joined the group's European desk and will initially manage segregated portfolios. The decision to manage the trust from New York comes five months after it was decided to manage Fleming Asian and Fleming India investment trusts out of the Far East. The group said it has no plan to run the Fleming Japan investment trust from a local base
Andrew Watkins, director of institutional sales at Fleming Investment Trust Management, said: "Apart from Japan all our trusts are now managed from local bases. We have made an exception with the Japan trust because we do not think there will any benefit from managing it locally. We have very strong teams in the UK and Japan managing the trust
The £457.5m Fleming American trust is the largest actively managed vehicle in the North America Micropal peer group. Over three years its share price rose by 80.3%. But over three months the share price has fallen by 9.1
Simon put this down to the recovery in cyclical stocks which has occurred this year. He said the trust has a long term strategy of holding growth stocks. The underlying portfolio is underweight technology due to the overvaluation of the stocks. Some 20% of portfolio is exposed to small cap companies which represent good value, according to Simon
Currently Simon is favouring consumer staples, such as Rolston Purina a pet food and batteries manufacturer and Budweiser. In addition Simon is playing healthcare and pharmaceutical stocks. He said: "The sectors have been sold off and offer good value. I hold Sherin Plough which is producing an anti-allergy drug
Some 23% of the portfolio is exposed to financials. The second largest sector is cyclical services with a 19% weighting. General industrials and non-cyclical consumer goods sectors both have 13% weightings. They are followed by information technology stocks and non-cyclical services stocks with weightings of 10% and 9% respectively. The balance is made up by exposure to resources, basic industrials and utilities sectors
As at close of business last Thursday the trust was trading at discount to NAV of 12.2
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