Neptune bought out by Liontrust – good news?

The acquisition is being pitched as offering Geffen the opportunity to return to the day-to-day job of running money.

Funds and Investment Trusts July 31, 2019 by Tom Bailey

Investment management company Liontrust has announced its plans to acquire Neptune Investment Management, subject to regulatory approval.

Liontrust currently has £14 billion of assets under management. The acquisition of Neptune will bring that up by £2.8 billion, to £17 billion.

According to Liontrust’s announcement, the takeover will see the whole of the Neptune investment team, including Neptune’s chief executive Robin Geffen, join the Liontrust offices under a new name: the Liontrust global equity team.

The acquisition is being pitched as offering Geffen the opportunity to step down as chief executive and return to the day-to-day job of running money.

As Geffen notes: “The deal will also enable me to step away from managing the business and focus solely on managing funds and leading my investment team, which is my real passion.”  

According to Adrian Lowcock, the acquisition is broadly good news for investors.

He notes: “The acquisition, I believe, is good news for investors in Neptune, as Liontrust has a strong management team which will provide some structure and focus for Neptune fund managers; it also allows Robin Geffen to focus on his first passion, which is fund management. The acquisition is a good fit in terms of coverage of different asset classes, as well as complementary investment styles.”

He cautions: “As with any acquisition, there will be a period of disruption and potential changes in fund managers as the businesses integrate.” However, he suggests these will need to be assessed “on a case by case basis”.

Neptune runs funds focused on Global, Income, Regional and Emerging Markets funds, all of which will be bought over to Liontrust. Over one year, Neptune Income is the best-performing fund in the IA UK equity income sector as of 30 June; it is the third best over three years and the second best over five years.

The acquisition is expected to complete in October, at which point Neptune’s funds will be rebranded as Liontrust.

John Ions will remain Liontrust’s chief executive.

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