Old Mutual Global Investors legend Ashton Bradbury has brought the curtain down on a glittering 26-year career in fund management.
Bradbury, who retires at the end of the year, is now planning to focus on personal interests outside of the industry.
He started his fund management career with Charterhouse Tilney in 1988 and joined Old Mutual in 2000 after spells at Hill Samuel and HSBC Asset Management. He then played a key role in building Old Mutual funds business, particularly the UK equity team.
Bradbury (pictured) stepped back from retail fund management at the start of 2009 to take a strategic management role at the group and served as head of equities until the appointment of Richard Buxton in June 2013, which he is understood to have played a key role in.
'I have enjoyed working with Ashton over the last 16 months as I have respected him as one of my peers in our industry for many years. I am particularly appreciative of the support he has given since my arrival at the company in June 2013,' Buxton said.
Tim Service, who joined the firm in 2007 and has 12 years' experience, will serve as co-manager on Bradbury's Old Mutual UK Special Equity hedge fund and become lead manager on his retirement.
'I am delighted that we have been able to offer Tim the opportunity to take over as the lead manager of the Old Mutual UK Specialist Equity fund, OMGI chief executive Julian Ide said.
'This appointment demonstrates that we are keen to offer career growth opportunities to members of our team.'
Outstanding track record
Bradbury carved out his reputation as manager of the Old Mutual UK Select Mid Cap fund, which he launched for Old Mutual on 11 February 2002.
Up to April 2008 (the date Bradbury announced he was relinquishing the fund) it had returned 167%, outstripping the 105% rise in the FTSE 250 Mid Cap index over the same period. This performance earned him a Citywire AAA-rating.
He handed the fund on to understudy Richard Watts, who has continued the good work and earned a Citywire AA-rating in the process. Under his guidance the fund has returned 82% in the three years to the end of August versus a sector average of 75.7%.
Bradbury also had an outstanding 30-month spell on the Old Mutual UK Smaller Companies fund, which launched amid the dotcom turbulence in January 2001 and also had contend with the volatility triggered by the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Centre.
From inception to end of June 2003, the fund registered a total return of 6.06% versus an average loss of -36.7% in the peer group and -30.8% on the FTSE Small cap index.
When Citywire profiled Bradbury in September in 2002, he emerged as one of the fund industry’s more unassuming and frugal characters.
This was highlighted by his decision to commute between a flat in Slough and his office in London during the working week, rather than live closer to Old Mutual’s headquarters. He finished his week off with a three-hour drive up the M4 to his Welsh farm home.
This meant 12-hour days were common. 'I’m one of the first in and one of the last to leave,' he said at the time. 'I see the management teams of over 300 companies each year at our London office, so that takes a lot of your working day.'
After more than a decade at the firm, Bradbury has now decided he wants to live life at a slower pace.
'Having spent 16 years commuting on a regular basis to London from my home in South Wales I have decided that the time is now right to pursue a somewhat less hectic pace of life in the years ahead,' Bradbury said.
'I have been fortunate to work alongside some exceptional people during my time at Old Mutual Global Investors and have no doubt that the business as a whole and the equities team specifically is very well placed to continue to move forward in the future'.
Ide added: 'I am grateful to Ashton for the guidance, stewardship and commitment to building the UK Equities business prior to, and since Richard joined the company.
'He has made a vital contribution to our management teams over many years, and particularly since I joined the company. The Old Mutual Global Investors management team and I respect his most recent decision. Ashton will leave with our thanks and gratitude.'
To read full interview from 2002 click here.