The appointment was announced one day after Jupiter and Merian Global agreed to join forces.
The board of the Jupiter Growth investment trust has run out of patience with fund manager Steve Davies and has moved to appoint Richard Buxton to take over the hotseat.
The announcement comes just one day after Jupiter and Merian Global agreed to join forces. Merian was spun off from Old Mutual two years ago under the control of veteran fund manager Richard Buxton, and rebranded as Merian Global Investors.
It also marks the latest in a growing trend of investment trust management group changes (including mergers). Our Trust supplement cover story for February picks up on this, looking back at whether investment trust sackings over the past 15 years have on the whole been a success or failure.
In October, the board of the Jupiter Growth investment trust kicked off a review of its investment strategy, following a period of poor performance.
Davies has managed the open-ended Jupiter UK Growth fund since the start of 2013, and more recently (April 2016) was appointed lead manager of Jupiter UK Growth investment trust. It was previously called Jupiter Primadona Growth trust.
However, the board has grown increasingly frustrated, with chairman Tom Bartlam noting in October that a change in manager could be coming: “Our current investment adviser, Steve Davies, will remain in place until such time as alternative portfolio management arrangements have been agreed by the board. The board is working to identify the best outcome ... and will communicate with shareholders as soon as a decision has been made.”
That decision has now been made and will result in Buxton taking over by the end of April. Buxton will be supported by longstanding colleagues Errol Francis and Ed Meier.
There will be no changes to the investment objective of the trust, while the base management fee of 0.5% will also remain the same. The fee, though, will be waived for a year until the end of 2020.
Commenting on the appointment of Bartlam said: “After careful consideration, we are pleased to have reached an agreement to appoint Richard Buxton as lead fund manager of the company. Richard is one of the most prominent UK equity investors and brings with him a wealth of experience.
“The board looks forward to working with Richard and his colleagues to determine the best way to broaden and grow the appeal of the company, while continuing our association with Jupiter.”
Buxton, popular with both do-it-yourself investors and financial advisers, attracted an army of admirers after steering the Schroder UK Alpha Plus fund to the top of the fund charts. Between June 2002 and the end of May 2013, the fund returned 250%, more than double the average fund return of 110% in the Investment Association's UK all companies sector.
Merian UK Alpha fund, which Buxton has run since December 2009 (on a third-party basis while at Schroders), has been less spectacular in more recent years. Its five-year performance numbers show a return of 30% compared to an average of 37% for the IA UK all companies sector.