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View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/article/a751231

Sym to 'totally revamp' Howard-Spink's Schroder European fund

by Eleanor Lawrie on May 15, 2014 at 10:45

James Sym plans to waste little time overhauling the Schroder European Alpha Plus fund when he takes command from Leon Howard Spink at the start of June.

One of Sym's first moves will be to shift the £1 billion portfolio from high quality stocks towards a strategy more akin to his top performing European Alpha Income Plus  fund.

'I am totally revamping the portfolio to move it in line with my view of what the best opportunities are over the next 18 months,' Sym told Wealth Manager.

Last week Schroders confirmed Sym would be the Alpha Plus fund's new pilot, allowing Howard-Spink more time to focus on his pan-European funds.  

Alpha Plus fund has struggled in recent years, returning 18.3% in three years to the end of March, compared with 22.6% for the FIDS World Series Europe ex UK benchmark. 

By contrast, the European Alpha Income fund has returned 76.7% since launch in November 2012 compared with a 47.5% rise for the same benchmark. 

Alpha Plus fund is much bigger than Sym's £309 million income mandate. He acknowledges that this could bring challenges and admits the changes he is making could prompt some outflows.

''Every £100 million we have to run makes liquidity more difficult. I'm fully aware of the challenge of running a bigger fund but I'm excited about it,' he said.

'There are some people for whom the fund will not be suitable because they wanted higher quality stocks. Bigger clients may take money out but initial signs have been very positive, better than I thought, but of course it will get smaller.'

'I have always run concentrated portfolios and that is what the Alpha plus fund should  be and is, it's just the philosophy will change slightly.'

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