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Witan appoints new emerging markets manager

Witan appoints new emerging markets manager

Witan has handed a £70 million emerging markets mandate to Rajiv Jain’s boutique, GQG Partners.

The externally managed segregated portfolio accounts for around 4% of the investment trust’s assets and will sit alongside the 1% allocation it made to the Somerset Emerging Markets Small Cap fund last year.

The closed-ended vehicle dropped its previous emerging markets manager, Trilogy Global Advisors in 2016, as it looked to reposition the trust. Besides the Somerset allocation, manager Andrew Bell (pictured) also took out an emerging markets index future while he pursued a new investment manager.

GQG runs £615 million across three funds, adopting a benchmark agnostic approach that aims to deliver outperformance, but with lower risk than the market. Jain joined the firm last year after a long stint at Vontobel Asset Management.

Bell said: ‘A key aspect of our search was to identify a manager to construct a portfolio of high quality companies which was truly benchmark agnostic, selecting the best companies in this varied and exciting area. GQG is a new partnership set up by Rajiv Jain, who will build a concentrated and unconstrained portfolio, aiming to outperform the benchmark over a full market cycle.

‘Rajiv has a longstanding investment record in both global and emerging market equities and we believe GQG's approach to buying companies exhibiting quality and growth at a reasonable price will benefit Witan's shareholders in the future.’

The move follows Witan’s decision to introduce a 5% allocation to emerging markets in the New Year. At the same time it upped its US allocation by 5% to 20%, with both increases coming at the expense of UK exposure, which fell to 30%.

‘We have had investments in emerging market funds for a number of years and from 2017 emerging markets also form 5% of the benchmark that we use to measure our performance,’ Bell added.

Over five years to 15 February, Witan has returned 153.7% in share price terms versus a peer group average of 117.4% and it is currently trading on a 4.8% discount to net asset value.  



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