Star manager Darwall to retain investment trust; fees to be cut

The trust’s board announced that it will end its contract with its current fund management company, Jupiter, in November.

Funds and Investment Trusts October 7, 2019 by Tom Bailey

Star fund manager Alexander Darwall will be bringing his European investment trust with him to his new investment company, Devon Equity Management.

The trust’s board announced that it will end its contract with its current fund management company Jupiter in November.

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Earlier in the year, Darwall announced that he would be leaving Jupiter in order to start Devon Equity Management. While it was confirmed that Darwall would no longer be managing his two open-ended funds, Jupiter European and Jupiter European Growth, the fate of his investment trust was not entirely clear.

In late April, Darwall publicly pledged that he would continue to manage Jupiter European Opportunities Trust for at least five more years.

The move will also see the trust cut fees. Until May 2020, Jupiter will continue to receive its current management fee, while no performance fee will be charged. The trust has charged an average of 1.1% a year over the past five years, according to Numis, the analyst, under the current charging structure, which includes a performance fee.

From next May, the trust will charge a management fee of 0.9% on the first £1 billion worth of assets held by the trust and 0.8% on any amount above that. Currently, the trust has around £860 million in assets under management. No new performance fee will be introduced.

Stockbrocker Numis has welcomed this fee change, noting: “This has the potential to significantly reduce costs for investors, given the fund’s strong returns have led to an average performance fee of 1.1% of net assets over the last five years. In return, there will be a relatively modest increase in the base fees by around 0.15%.”

Darwall’s Devon Equity Management will take control of the trust in November, which will then be known simply as European Opportunities Trust.

In a further blow to Jupiter, in response to the continued underperformance of the Jupiter UK Growth investment trust, its board has announced that it is considering the potential of replacing the trust’s manager Steve Davies with someone from outside Jupiter. Davies took over management of Jupiter UK Growth (formerly Jupiter Primadona) in April 2016.

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