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Nigel Thomas to retire after 40 years in funds

UK equities veteran will retire next year, handing his £3 billion AXA Framlington UK Select Opportunities fund to Chris St John.

 
Nigel Thomas to retire after 40 years in funds
 

Nigel Thomas, one of the longest-serving UK fund managers, is to retire next year, handing over his £3 billion AXA Framlington UK Select Opportunities fund to Citywire AA-rated Chris St John.

Thomas will retire in March next year, with St John, manager of the £195 million AXA Framlington UK Mid Cap fund, taking on the UK Select Opportunities fund at the end of this year.

Thomas' retirement will bring to an end a 40-year career in fund management and one of the longest track records in running UK funds.

He has been at the helm of the UK Select Opportunities fund since September 2002. Over that time he has delivered 380% to investors, compared to 237% from the FTSE All-Share and 244% from the average UK All Companies fund.

His replacement St John has a strong track record on the UK Mid Cap fund, which he has run since 2011. Over that period he has returned 142%, placing the fund in the top 10 of the UK All Companies sector. Prior to that he ran the AXA Framlington UK Smaller Companies fund.

Thomas said St John's small- and mid-cap experience would be relevant to his new role, given the UK Select Opportunties fund's all-cap approach. More than a third of the fund is currently held in FTSE 250 stocks, and nearly 15% in small-cap and Alternative Investment Market companies.

'I have worked with Chris St John for 13 years and we have very similar investment styles; he and the wider UK equities team have contributed a huge amount to the idea generation that I have implemented as I managed the UK Select Opportunities fund,' he said.

'Chris’s experience investing in UK small and mid-cap companies is particularly relevant as he takes the lead on this Fund later this year - these areas have been an important source of alpha generation for the UK Select Opportunities Fund.'

Mark Beveridge, head of equities at AXA Investment Managers, said St John had been identified as Thomas' successor five years ago.

Prior to joining Framlington, which French insurer AXA bought in 2005, Thomas ran the Pembroke Growth fund, later renamed the ABN Amro UK Growth fund after the Dutch bank took over fund group Carrington & Co in 1996.

Framlington's poaching of Thomas and colleague George Luckraft led to a crisis for ABN Amro's UK fund management business, which was forced to merge with rival Artemis. Thomas's original fund, which he started running in 1986, survives as the £315 million Artemis Capital fund, run by Citywire A-rated Philip Wolstencroft.

1 comment so far. Why not have your say?

Franco

Apr 28, 2018 at 12:15

Re the author's comparison of FTAS and UK All Co sector returns. 237% and 244% over 16 years, I wonder where he got his figures from and whether they are back of the envelope type, sales literature, or proper research data with survivorship correction, such as those from Morning star, which contradict him very soundly.

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