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Gibbs to retire and hand over Jupiter Absolute Return to Clunie

by Danielle Levy, Dylan Lobo on Jul 16, 2013 at 10:45

Gibbs to retire and hand over Jupiter Absolute Return to Clunie

Renowned Jupiter fund manager Philip Gibbs is to retire and hand over his Absolute Return fund to incoming manager James Clunie.

Gibbs (pictured) will continue to manage the Jupiter Second Split investment trust, which is set to be wound up by October 2014, and will pass over the £482 million Absolute Return fund to Clunie, who has joined from Swip.

Gibbs, one the UK's most respected fund managers, has struggled during the market volatilty of the last three years. 

He has posted a 0.96% return over the past three years with the Absolute Return fund versus 2.36% by three-month Libor, according to Lipper. The Citywire Alternative Ucits Multi-Strategy sector was up 12.46% over the same period.

Edward Bonham Carter, chief executive of Jupiter Asset Management, said in a statement: 'Philip has delivered outstanding long-term returns to clients during his career at Jupiter and I would like to thank him for the contribution he has made to the company during this time.

'Demand for absolute return and multi-asset strategies is growing, with investors increasingly looking for strategies that can provide capital growth with lower volatility.

'We added resource in this area in 2010, appointing Miles Geldard and Lee Manzi to run multi asset and convertible portfolios, and are pleased that James, who has developed a strong reputation for managing both long/short and long-only portfolios, has joined us to help take forward the development of our absolute return strategies.'

Gibbs added: 'It has been a pleasure to have served clients in my funds over the past 16 years and I am looking forward to continuing with the management of the Jupiter Second Split Investment Trust until October 2014. I wish James well in his management of the Jupiter Absolute Return fund.'  

One of the UK's most consistent

The famously publicity shy Gibbs joined Jupiter in 1997 and ran the Jupiter Financial Opportunities fund between 1997 and June 2010, when Guy de Blonay became co-manager.

It was on the fund that he really established as one of the top investors of his generation.

In a special feature published on Wealth Manager on 17 July 2012 on the UK's most consistent managers over the last decade, Gibbs featured with a return of 183.1% over the last 10 years and was rated by Citywire for 91% of the time he qualified for a rating.  

In an exclusive interview with Wealth Manager at the time, Gibbs said the investment call he was most proud of was his decision to remove almost his entire exposure to equities at the start of the financial crisis.

However, he admitted failing to increase his exposure to equities at the start of the market rally in 2009 was among his worst decisions.

On the events which shaped him during the period Gibbs said: 'The most formative events were clearly the collapse of the technology boom and the ongoing effects of this, exposing the danger of excessive ratings, and the collapse of property in large parts of the developed world, exposing the danger of excessive leverage.'   

The Clunie effect

Clunie, an academic, set up and ran Edinburgh University's Masters programme in Finance and Investment and published the book Predatory Trading and Crowded Exits.   

He joined Swip in 2007 where he was given responsibility for analysing UK utility and banking stocks and managing client portfolios.

In 15 September 2009 he was appointed lead manager of the Swip UK Flexible Strategy on which he really underlined his credentials as a top absolute return manager.  

In the three years to the end of May the fund returned 24.5%, well ahead of the 2.4% rise in the three-month sterling Libor over the same period.

This stunning performance encouraged Swip to hand Clunie its UK Growth and UK Opportunities funds when previous manager and UK equity head Peter Cockburn quit the firm.

In April Wealth Manager revealed Jupiter had poached Clunie.  

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