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Citywire's 10 most consistent fund managers over the last decade

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by Rhea Johnson on Jul 17, 2012 at 13:40

As we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of our unique fund manager ratings, we shine the spotlight on the individuals who have conquered the unprecedented conditions of the last decade.

The hall of fame

As Citywire celebrates 10 years since the launch of our unique fund manager ratings service, we look back on the individuals who have triumphed over the past decade, despite what can only be described as the most brutal of investment markets.

Whichever asset class they operate in, fund managers have had to contend with unprecedented swings in prices. These swings have at times been triggered by the highest of hopes about the future of our economy, with great dreams of technological transformation and emerging market development.

But the road has been fraught beyond belief, with market falls that could shake the confidence of even the wisest investor. In the past decade, the most basic of assumptions about the nature of capitalism and the strength of the financial system have been shaken to their core. Many have not made it. The average tenure of a manager on a fund during this time has been about two and a half years, with evidence suggesting this may be falling since the credit crunch.

Those individuals who, over a full decade running money, have survived this rollercoaster and demonstrated their capacity to consistently add value, have earned their reputations as among the best of their generation.

First up is an M&G star with incredible recovery powers

Thomas Dobell

Thomas Dobell is that rare thing among fund managers as someone who sticks at one thing year after year. He has built a long history on the M&G Recovery fund and proven his ability to unearth opportunities missed by the other managers.

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Next up a man who knows a special situation when he sees one

Giles Hargreave

Giles Hargreave is the chief executive of family-owned stockbroking firm Hargreave Hale. He has a passion for small-cap investing in UK stocks, gained over a long career running money both within unit trusts and in the private client world.

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Next comes a Jupiter star who is notorious for being absolutely publicity shy

Philip Gibbs

Philip Gibbs does not seek publicity but his performance attracts it. For most of the past 10 years his fund has focused on financial companies. Known for his big strategic bets, he had the best ‘credit crunch’ of any UK manager. He now focuses on asset allocating for absolute returns.

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Next on the podium is our second M&G star who likes to keep things basic

Graham French

Graham French has always had a specialism in the sort of businesses that deal with the raw materials that make the world go round. This bias has only helped him over the past decade and he has emerged as one of the most consistent global equity investors across market cycles.

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Our next manager shows it is possible to stick to ethics and make money

Robin Hepworth

Robin Hepworth has worked at Ecclesiastical since 1999. He is the only fund manager in our list with an explicitly ethical focus. The focus of the strategy is on engaging in firms for change and the business has many church clients. Hepworth is a keen walker and footballer; he climbed the Lake District’s 24 peaks in 24 hours.

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Next up is an Artemis fund manager with bundles of energy

John Dodd

John Dodd was a founding partner in Artemis Investment Management. He has focused on growth-oriented smaller companies for about 10 years but has recently taken his expertise in the energy sector to market with a new fund. Dodd’s interests vary widely but he spends much of his free time in the Scottish Highlands.

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Next up is Invesco Perpetual's billion pound man who needs little introduction

Neil Woodford

Neil Woodford has emerged as the senior fund manager of the UK. With tens of billions of assets under his control, he is responsible for providing the income needs of more British investors than anyone else in the country. His track record has consistently justified that trust.

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Next to take a bow is the baby of the bunch who learnt a thing or two from his dad

Toby Ricketts

At just 38, Toby Ricketts is the youngest manager in this top 10. He followed in his father’s footsteps to manage these funds, working his way up through the business to take the reins. Ricketts is an accomplished public speaker and a founder of the Professional Speakers Association. He cites motorcycles as his other hobby.

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Our next and penultimate manager proves small can be very beautiful indeed

Paul Mumford

Paul Mumford is a small-cap expert, having worked as an analyst at Norris Oakley Brothers and R Nivision. However he has been running money himself since 1989 and his flagship Cavendish Opportunities fund has the capacity to invest globally, though he retains a bias towards the UK.

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Completing the 10 is a Threadneedle giant who has thrived in the financial crisis

Leigh Harrison

Leigh Harrison is one of Britain’s foremost investors in UK shares, in particular income stocks. He built his record at Credit Suisse Asset Management but it is at Threadneedle that he has the most observable impact on the whole range of equity fund performance. He is head of equities but retains personal fund management responsibilities.

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