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Can Cazenove old boys Rice & Russell buck the anti-boutique trend?

Can Cazenove old boys Rice & Russell buck the anti-boutique trend?

The proposed launch of a new fund boutique by Chris Rice and Tim Russell, former stars at Cazenove, could challenge the wider preference for giant asset managers.

Rice (pictured) and Russell have united to form Sanditon Asset Management – originally named RR Asset Management.

The company registration documents seen by Wealth Manager also show that the duo are joined as directors by Neil Canetty-Clarke, an experienced finance director who has worked at the Guardian Media Group, and by Rupert Tyer, a former Cazenove non-executive director.

Rice and Russell are expected to offer European and UK equity funds.

The two sectors, however, are fiercely competitive and have been dominated by the major fund groups, as shown by the latest Pridham report.

‘The hallmark of the 1990s was the market getting interested in boutiques,’ said Jason Hollands, managing director at Bestinvest. ‘But that has changed since the 2000s.’

But Adrian Lowcock, senior investment manager at Hargreaves Lansdown, argued that that could now reverse as more attention is paid to managers’ quality. ‘In the post-RDR world there is lots of room for boutiques to be successful,’ he said.

Both Rice and Russell built strong track records at Cazenove. Rice’s Cazenove European fund returned 201% during his tenure, compared with a peer group average of 159%. Russell produced 106% through his time on Cazenove UK Growth & Income, in line with the sector average.

Rice and Russell are adherents of ‘business cycle’ investing, an approach currently taken by their former colleague Citywire AAA-rated Julie Dean at Schroders.

Lowcock and Hollands expressed confidence that Rice and Russell could secure interest in their new funds, despite competing in areas where Hollands observed that investors are ‘spoiled for choice’.

‘Are they big enough names to attract a decent amount of flow?’ Hollands asked. ‘I’d be surprised if they weren’t able to attract a decent amount.’

Lowcock added: ‘I’d be very surprised if it’s not a successful boutique.’ He presumed they would, however, focus on fewer clients with more assets under management rather than enter the mass retail market.

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