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How will Jupiter's growth strategy change under new chief?

How will Jupiter's growth strategy change under new chief?

Fund managers and analysts expect a broader fund range and more of a focus on Jupiter's private client division could form part of incoming chief Maarten Slendebroek's growth strategy.

Bonham Carter (pictured) will be succeeded by Slendebroek in March after almost 14 years at the helm of Jupiter, although he will not step back completely in his new role as vice-chairman.

It is a move that has been greeted with some unease amongst some sections of the fund buying community. Mark Harris, head of multi-asset at City Financial, told Wealth Manager that Bonham Carter's  decision to step back had made him slightly nervous, as it follows the departure of some of the group's fund managers. He is now unsure as to what direction the business will take.

'I must admit it makes me feel a bit nervous, just generally what's been going on, the level of departures and this heightens that anxiety. It does really puzzle me how they are going to take it forwards,' he said.

Ian Aylward, head of multi-manager research at Aviva Investors, said the announcement was 'very significant news' for his team because Bonham Carter has been so instrumental in the running of the business. For example, he oversaw the asset manager's successful float in June 2010.

'In the sense that Bonham Carter has been a very good leader and has driven the firm and its performance very nicely, for us as investors, him becoming less involved in the day-to-day is slightly concerning,' Aylward said.

Nonetheless, he is heartened by the fact that Slendebroek has been at Jupiter for more than a year, so there is a degree of continuity.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Bonham Carter explained his reasons for stepping back: 'The company is well positioned for growth and it is the right time for me to hand over the reins. I have enjoyed working with Maarten since his arrival and he has the skills and qualities to take the company through the next stage of its growth.'

RBC Capital Markets analyst Peter Lenardos thinks the company will look to broaden its fund range and distribution strategy following the management change.

'We believe that Jupiter should become more diversified (in terms of product offering and distribution) and less reliant on UK retail and pan-European equities under Mr Slendebroek’s leadership,' he said in a note.

Stephen Bailey, who holds Jupiter in the Liontrust Macro Equity Income fund, anticipates Jupiter will aim to grow its private client division as part of a broader expansion plan.

'I would ascertain they are going to want to grow that side of the business. I'm sure it [Jupiter] does not lack any ambition.'

He argued that key man risk is not a big concern, as Bonham Carter did not manage any funds. 

'Edward Bonham Carter has been hugely instrumental. All credit goes to him but I can't see a massive change in culture. It's not quite the same situation as if you had a key man leaving a particular fund. I don't think it's going to create too much uncertainty and the share price is telling us this - it's up a few pence, so the market accepts the reasons for the change,' he said.

At 14:00 Jupiter's share price was up by 0.13% on the day at 379p.

Scott Spencer, a multi-manager at Aberdeen Asset Management whose team holds the Jupiter Strategic Bond fund, also expects further growth under the new chief executive. 

'The strategy will be very much as it has been - to keep going in the UK and also go more international. It's not something that will change the business rapidly,' he said.

'That has been the aim of the business for a while, to build up the international side so I think that will carry on at the same pace, or maybe quicker.' 


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