GAM founding member and director Jeremy Smouha (pictured) has left the firm to launch a UK office for Swiss-based corporate bond specialist Atlanticomnium.
The bond boutique will launch into the UK under Smouha, who joins as chief executive. It will continue its long-standing relationship with GAM, which is a distributor of its funds.
Smouha, who was formerly a director at GAM, said he felt it was time to step back from the role to launch a London office for Atlanticomnium to expand its European distribution. He remains a senior adviser to GAM.
The London office will promote the GAM Star Credit Opportunities fund, a Ucits version of the strategy that launched last year and is based on a fund Atlanticomnium has run since 1985. Managed by Smouha's brother Anthony, the fund targets a gross yield of over 7% and has posted a 20.6% return over the past year.
As Smouha anticipates the 30-year bull market in bonds to end soon, he expects Atlanticomnium’s focus on backing higher yielding junior debt in quality companies to help differentiate it from competitors.
‘We suspect the end of the 30-year bull market is here, so we are concentrating on having a very low duration. We will do this by trying to have high coupons to reduce interest rate sensitivity and we have long experience in buying discounted floating rate notes,’ he said.
Atlanticomnium will target investment managers, IFAs and private clients, alongside charities and pension funds. The boutique currently manages around $700 million, with around $500 million in funds.