Alexander Darwall will leave Jupiter Fund Management to set up his own fund house, Devon Equity Management, and is set to take the £985m Jupiter European Opportunities investment trust (JEO) he runs with him.
Jupiter announced yesterday evening (1 July) that Darwall had taken preparatory steps to "fulfil a long-held ambition [and] launch a small investment management business".
Darwall has agreed not to compete with Jupiter in the UCITS market for a period of two years. However, a separate stockmarket filing from the trust noted its board had "decided to investigate the possibility of appointing Devon to advise on its investment portfolio".
"[The board] has instructed its professional advisers to assist in a due diligence exercise and to consult with its shareholders," it added. "The board is in negotiations with Jupiter regarding the ongoing management arrangements and investment management contract."
Darwall will be joined at Devon by Jupiter's head of investment trusts Richard Pavry and fellow fund manager on Jupiter's European fund range, Luca Emo, according to Companies House data.
On news JEO will [potentially re-appoint Darwall as manager, Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at fund platform AJ Bell, said investors "should have confidence in the continuity of the investment approach that has delivered outstanding returns during his 20-year tenure".
The fact that Darwall will not launch a competing open-ended fund for two years, Hughes added, will mean "that investors' only opportunity to continue to access Darwall's quality growth investment approach will be through the investment trust". This "may create strong demand for it in the coming months".
Devon Equity Management, which will be based in London and was incorporated on 11 April, has made an application to seek regulatory approval from the Financial Conduct Authority, Jupiter said.
It was announced in April that Darwall, who joined Jupiter in 2000, would relinquish control of Jupiter's £5.5bn European fund and its £2.4bn European Growth SICAV. His successor, Mark Nichols, began in the role on 1 July with fellow ex-Columbia Threadneedle manager to join on 2 September.
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