Dan Harlow takes over on Axa Framlington UK Smaller Companies

Henry Lowson, who was previously lead manager of Money Observer Rated Fund Axa Framlington UK Smaller Companies fund, has left Axa Framlington. Dan Harlow has been appointed as the new lead manager.

Harlow was originally recruited by Axa in 2010 to help manage the UK Smaller Companies fund. Alongside Chris St John, who will continue as deputy manager on the fund, Harlow managed the UK Smaller Companies fund from 2010 to 2011.

In November 2011, Harlow moved to become a co-manager alongside Stephen Kelly on the Axa Framlington American Growth fund.

Prior to joining Axa, Harlow was head of UK equities at Montanaro Asset Management, managing UK small-cap portfolios including the Montanaro UK Smaller Companies Investment Trust.


Harlow says: 'The challenge of identifying the next generation of British corporate successes is one I relished and thrived on for well over a decade and I am excited to work closely with Chris St John and the broader UK equities team once again.

'I have become fascinated by meeting and investing in some of the worlds' most innovative, dynamic and successful businesses and I believe the lessons, insights and experiences I have gained in the US market will be hugely valuable as I look to build on this fund's excellent track record.'

Commenting on the management change, Jason Hollands, managing director at Tilney Bestinvest, says: 'We were disappointed to hear that Henry Lowson is leaving Axa as we added the fund to our buy list last year and had identified him as one of the rising stars of the industry. It'll be interesting to see where he lands next.'

Hollands doesn't think existing investors need to take any hasty action, because 'it is important to remember that Henry was part of a very experienced UK equities team at Axa Framlington, with considerable smaller companies experience'.

He points out that the team's £3.9 billion flagship Axa Framlington UK Select Opportunities, managed by veteran investor Nigel Thomas, has long had a sizeable weighting to small caps.

Hollands adds: 'Chris St. John, a manager we know well and rate highly, will remain the alternate manager on the fund. Chris started his investment career as a smaller companies fund manager and originally recruited Dan Harlow to work with him on the fund.

'Anyone eager to invest in a UK small-cap fund at the moment might instead consider Franklin UK Smaller Companies or the Liontrust UK Smaller Companies funds, or, for a slightly different approach which is focused on higher-yielding smaller companies, Unicorn UK Income.'

Both the Franklin and the Liontrust offerings are Money Observer Rated Funds.

We will continue to monitor Axa Framlington UK Smaller Companies' performance under the new manager.

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