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Ignis to shut Ashby & Holden funds in UK equity overhaul

Ignis to shut Ashby & Holden funds in UK equity overhaul

Ignis has stressed its commitment UK equities after revealing plans to close two funds, including Graham Ashby's underperforming UK Enhanced Income fund.

The closure comes less than four years after the fund's launch, while the UK Focus, along with a the Japan Tracker funds are also set to shut in an overhaul of Ignis' fund range.

Ignis, which has seen its £2.5 billion Absolute Return Government and £1.1 billion Property funds grow in popularity in recent years, said it was 'absolutely' still committed to UK equities.

'We have focused our resource on a narrower range of UK funds which we believe will benefit performance going forward, the firm said. 'Establishing a strong UK equity franchise is a key objective for the business'

The £9.9 million UK Enhanced Income fund has returned 16.9% in the three years to the end of January, compared with a rise of 32.2% for the FTSE 350 higher yield index. The fund's objective is to gain a high income yield, with some long term capital growth via a portfolio of 40-70 UK stocks. 

Ashby (pictured), who is head of UK equities at Ignis, will remain manager of the £95 million Ignis UK Equity Income fund, which is third quartile of the UK Equity Income sector in one year to the end of January, and bottom quartile over three and five years.

Ignis is also set to close Mark Holden's £63.5 million UK Focus fund, which launched in 2002. In three years to the end of January the fund returned 4.7% compared with a return of 27.7% for the FTSE All share.

Both funds are scheduled to close on the 7th April, subject to FCA and shareholder approval. Holden will move to manage money internally within the Ignis Tactical Asset Allocation team.

Investors in the funds will have the choice of redeeming their assets or transferring to another Ignis product free of charge. Anyone who invested since the beginning of 2013 can choose to redeem their assets and have the initial charge repaid to them in full.

The news follows Ignis's decision to close the International Global Government Bond fund and Global Technology fund, and launch a revamped Global Emerging Markets strategy.

Elsewhere, the asset management firm has signalled it will move away from investing in Japan, by closing its £22.3 million Japan Tracker fund on 14 April, subject to approval.

The company 'expects little demand for this product in the foreseeable future' while its small size means it is 'economically unviable to manage'.

The management of the Japan Tracker fund was outsourced to State Street, and Ignis has no plans to replace the strategy. A large proportion of the assets in the fund are managed on behalf of a single client who will be moving to another mandate run by Ignis.

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