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SJP soft-closes Asante and Wood funds

SJP soft-closes Asante and Wood funds

St James’s Place has shut its portfolios run by First State’s Jonathan Asante and JO Hambro’s John Wood to new money.

Asante (pictured), AA-rated by Citywire, currently manages a mandate worth £800 million for St James’s Place and is responsible for its Global Emerging Markets fund.

‘Jonathan has advised the investment committee that he believes the fund has now reached capacity and that to continue to accept new investments would lead to his successful investment process being compromised,’ St James’s Place confirmed.

‘The investment committee believes this step is in the best interests of existing investors in the Global Emerging Markets fund and consequently, from 28 April 2014, we will no longer accept any new lump sum or regular investments into the fund other than through existing regular monthly or annual contributions.’

St James’s Place added that it would also no longer be possible for its clients to switch from other funds into Asante’s Global Emerging Markets fund. The fund has returned 13.2% over the past three years, top-decile performance compared with its peer group average loss of 11.3%.

The St James’s Place Worldwide Managed and Worldwide Opportunities funds, on which Asante (pictured) is co-manager, will be unaffected.

Separately, St James’s Place has also closed A-rated Wood’s portfolio to new investment. Wood has co-managed the firm’s £1.6 billion UK & General Progressive mandate since September 2009.

Wood shared responsibility for the fund with Liberty Square until October last year, when St James’s Place replaced the Boston boutique with BlackRock’s Luke Chappell and Majedie’s AAA-rated James de Uphaugha move that prompted Liberty Square’s closure, as Wealth Manager revealed.

‘The investment committee and Stamford Associates have for some time been discussing with John his future plans and cashflow capability, acknowledging his reluctance to invest in companies that he believes are fully valued in a market rally driven by liquidity rather than company fundamentals,’ St James’s Place stated.

The firm noted that related to this the fund’s cash weighting had increased to 10.9%.

‘The committee has concluded that it is now appropriate to stop further inflows into John’s portfolio to ensure that the integrity and strength of his investment approach is not compromised.’

As a result, all future flows into UK & General Progressive will be split between Chappell’s and de Uphaugh’s portfolios.

Following the closure of Asante’s fund, St James’s Place has also announced that on 28 April it will be launching a new emerging markets strategy.

To be named the Emerging Markets Equity fund, it will be managed by Salt Lake City-based Wasatch Advisors. This will have a ‘go anywhere’ approach, with St James’s Place highlighting its exposure to Peru, Thailand, Egypt and Indonesia.

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