Financial News, would like to congratulate all the nominees shortlisted in the Awards for Excellence in Institutional Asset Management, Europe 2012. Please click on the category title to see the shortlist.
Fixed Income Asset Management Firm of the Year
The firm has seen all of its fixed income institutional portfolios beat their benchmarks over three years, and has been top, or near top, of the Camradata IQ tables for its three-year performance in European fixed income. Its range of absolute return products include innovations such as the Libor Plus Fund, which has returned more than 26% since launch in 2007.
JP Morgan Asset Management
Over one year all but one of its 14 fixed income investment products have outperformed their benchmarks with low risk, and over 15 months to March it has grown fixed income assets under management by 17%, to $144bn. It has launched three new funds and hired a head of client portfolio management over the year.
Legal & General Investment Management The manager runs over £180bn in fixed income portfolios, across both government bonds and credit markets. Over the past year it has launched a range of passive emerging market sovereign debt funds, and has already started lending against commercial real estate. One investor said: “People think of LGIM as just a passive manager, but actually they have some good active funds.”
M&G Investment Management
All of the firm’s flagship pooled fixed income funds have outperformed or equalled their benchmarks over the past year, and all of its active institutional fixed income funds have beaten their benchmarks over three years. Over the past year it has added over £4bn of new fixed income business, and launched a social housing debt fund.
Despite half of its funds underperforming against the benchmark over a difficult year, the majority outperformed over three years and it has added almost £24bn of new business in mandate wins over the nine months to March. The firm was applauded by European investors for its decision to reverse an ill-timed move out of Treasuries in September.
Liability-Driven Investment Firm of the Year
One of the UK’s big three managers in liability-driven investments, with £102bn under management, BlackRock’s team did not rest on its laurels in 2011/12. It has been encouraging clients to use its active LDI offering and has seven signed up with “a number” undergoing trials. Earlier this year it rolled out a new service for smaller funds, Wayfinder.
F&C Asset Management
A smaller player in LDI, with £28bn under management, F&C is nonetheless rated by investment consultants. It has worked to bring dynamic LDI funds to the smaller end of the market, launching a new suite in December, and added 44 clients during the year. In June, it launched two funds based on the LDI approach into the defined-contribution market, which aim to track the price of annuity contracts.
The largest LDI manager in the UK, Insight is lauded for the leading role it took this year in lobbying European regulators, whose post-crisis derivatives regulations threatened to make pension schemes’ LDI strategies more expensive. Its LDI funds are highly rated by consultants, and it says 100% of its portfolios have beaten their benchmarks over the three years to the end of March 2012.
Legal & General Investment Management
The second of the UK’s big three LDI managers, Legal & General consistently wins plaudits from clients and consultants for its customer service. The business has continued to pull in new money, too, with £1.8bn of net inflows in the first quarter across LDI mandates and active fixed income.
Another smaller player, with £8.9bn under management in LDI mandates, Schroders has big ambitions in the field. Its board has agreed to invest £1m in a five-year plan to expand. It too launched new pooled funds in 2011, aiming to extend its best-ideas, already implemented for larger clients, to smaller pension schemes.
Equity Asset Management Firm of the Year
Aberdeen Asset Management
One investor said of Aberdeen: “They’ve done everything the Hugh Young way – ‘only judge us over five years’. It has done really well.” The performance figures show its global, Asian, emerging markets and UK strategies have beaten their benchmarks over one, three, five and 10 years. Its emerging markets equities strategy has been the top-performing fund of its type over three years, according to the Camradata IQ tables, in every quarter over the past year.
Hermes Fund Managers
It has been all change for multi-boutique fund manager Hermes this year, with Saker Nusseibeh taking over the reins as chief executive following the departure of Rupert Clarke. However, this has not thrown the BT-owned outfit off the pace. According to the Camradata IQ tables, the firm has repeatedly been in the top five European equities managers over three years, reaching the number one slot in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. A rival equity manager said she is treating Hermes as a real threat.
MFS Investment Management
A strong performer in UK, European and global equities management, MFS is shortlisted for this award for the third year in a row, having walked off with the prize in 2010. The confidence of investors has been reflected in strong inflows over the past 18 months, which have helped send assets under management up by 20% during a period when other funds have struggled to raise money. Its global equity fund beat its benchmark by 5.8% over the 12 months to March.
This UK boutique has made progress commercially, taking its overall assets under management up by £1.5bn to £6.8bn as of May, while generating outperformance of 3.4 percentage points over a year for its Global Focus fund. Andrew Headley and Charles Richardson, managers of the firm’s Global Equity Income and Global Focus funds, have been picked out for particular praise. Meanwhile one investor gave Veritas credit for being careful not to grow too fast.
SRI/Sustainable Investment Management Firm of the Year
First State Investments
Consultants said the manager had invested in its SRI capability, hiring Will Oulton from Mercer as global head of responsible investment and hiring a head of responsible investment in Asia Pacific. Its £225m Asia Pacific Sustainability Fund has outperformed the benchmark over one, three and five years, and the Global Emerging Markets Sustainability Fund has outperformed over one and three years.
Generation Investment Management
Last year’s winning firm was founded in 2004 by former US vice-president Al Gore and Goldman Sachs almunus David Blood. It has produced several white papers on sustainable investment and employs 26 investment professionals. Consultants said it was a “performance-orientated” manager.
Impax Asset Management
Investment consultants that specialise in SRI said they continue to rate Impax highly even though its environmental markets fund underperformed the MSCI World Small Cap index by 9.4 percentage points over the 12 months to June – thematic investments, for which they like Impax, have generally have performed poorly in the last 12 months, they argue, and they still look to it for good long-term performance. One investor said, “I rate Impax hugely, they are so good at what they do.” Meanwhile, it has been developing its business in Asia.
Zurich-based SAM, which is an affiliate of Dutch asset manager Robeco, last year starting managing its Sustainable Agribusiness Equities Fund, which currently holds €121m. Its Sustainable Healthy Living Fund has beaten the benchmark over five years. SAM has €9.1bn in assets under management and advice. An investment consultant focused on SRI said: “We like SAM, it is good in thematic investing.”
The manager has a range of sustainability-themed funds, which peers said are “well managed with a sensible approach”, and has Sfr3bn in sustainable assets under management. One investment consultant specialising in SRI said he liked Vontobel for integrating sustainability into its mainstream fund management, where its recent performance has been excellent – its emerging markets equity strategy beat its benchmark by 18.5% over the 12 months to May and by 12.2% a year over three years, with similar outperformance in global, European and Asian equities.
Good Steward of the Year
Which mainstream asset managers have been the most effective at corporate stewardship, acting not just as temporary shareholders but owners of the companies where they invest?
Baillie Gifford’s strength on stewardship and corporate governance was recognised by one investment consultant, who said: “Its responsible investment reporting is excellent.” The insight from a second consultant was even more telling: “Baillie Gifford does governance and stewardship but it wouldn’t call it that – they just want companies to do the right thing. But getting companies to perform securely is what governance is all about.”
Co-operative Asset Management
This firm drew plaudits for the way it has thoroughly integrated stewardship into its investment process. One consultant said: “Engagement lies at the heart of everything they do. They don’t react to high profile campaigns, their use of media is selective, they don’t confuse quantity with quality, and they are not in London, they’re in Manchester.” It has focused on stewardship since before it was fashionable, without it compromising investment performance – for which it has been recognised by being appointed as an adviser by Nest.
F&C Asset Management
F&C has preserved its corporate governance function where some other asset managers have abandoned it. And, following its pair of internal reviews in the last 12 months, F&C has been increasing its use of public statements. But it has been working at stewardship in the background, where it is most effective, for years. Its corporate governance guru George Dallas is held in respect.
Legal & General Investment Management
The arrival of Sacha Sadan from the Universities Superannuation Scheme is said to be revitalising LGIM’s engagement with companies, but it was already seen as pretty good by investors. The chief investment officer of one pension scheme described LGIM as “highly effective”.
A consultant said: “Threadneedle already punches above its weight, and having hired Ian Richards from Aviva Investors, it is definitely one to watch.” Richards is joining Mark Burgess, Threadneedle’s chief investment officer, who used to work at Legal & General Investment Management.
Emerging Markets Investment Management Firm of the Year
Aberdeen Asset Management The UK asset manager has beaten its benchmark in both its emerging markets equity and fixed income strategies over one, three, five and 10 years. Net flows into the strategies were £8.7bn for the year to March, and the firm has also launched LatAm Equity, Frontier Markets Equity and Emerging Markets Corporate Bond funds in the past 12 months.
First State Investments
Last year the firm launched a team to target opportunities in emerging market debt, and consultants highlighted its strong performance across the emerging market sector – at the six-month mark, the debt team had about $1bn in assets under management. It has been managing emerging market investments since 1992.
Genesis Investment Management
The specialist emerging markets equities manager’s $7.6bn Genesis Emerging Markets Investment Company fund has produced an annualised return of 15.3% over the last three years to the end of June, net of fees. The MSCI Emerging Markets benchmark returned 10.1% over the same period. The firm has 10 other emerging market funds.
Investec Asset Management
The manager, whose roots are in Africa, has over half of its £62bn in assets under management invested in emerging markets. It covers more than 60 emerging countries, and has established a range of liquid, less liquid, global and regional solutions to give clients access to the opportunities in emerging markets. Its emerging market debt and Asia ex-Japan strategies are well regarded, and an investment consultant said: “It has a very strong emerging markets currency capability.”
It may seem controversial to shortlist a fund manager that has underperformed its benchmark by two percentage points over the 12 months to June, but investors and consultants said that despite the short-term underperformance, they still expect Skagen to go on generating top performance over the long term – ahead of some managers whose recent performance has been excellent. Since its launch in 2002, its Kon-Tiki fund has beaten its benchmark by an average of 8.6 percentage points a year.
Multi-Asset – Diversified Growth Investment Management Firm of the Year
Having been introduced in 2010, the multi-asset category has now been split into two to help judges compare like with like – although disputes over categorisation will continue. The “multi-asset diversified growth” is meant to group contenders investing with an eye on the equity market – although reducing volatility and short-term losses is also an objective.
AQR’s Global Risk Premium funds have been generating top decile returns for institutional investors over the last one, three and five years, with returns of 8.7% a year since inception in 2006 with a high Sharpe ratio. Its products range from enhanced index to hedge funds, but in risk parity – a form of multi-asset investing – it manages £10bn for 60 European clients and has seen £6bn of inflows over the last 12 months. A mainstream asset management marketer volunteered that AQR was a thought leader, saying: “I’ve just been reading some papers by AQR – very interesting.”
A smaller and more recent diversified growth player, with about £1.2bn under management, its fund, launched in late 2008, has made 14.7% a year after fees during the three years to December 31. Its style is known for being well diversified without resorting to derivatives, with investments spanning structured finance, insurance-linked securities and even litigation funds.
Baring Asset Management
Widely rated by consultants, with a multi-asset strategy helmed by well-regarded strategist Percival Stanion, Baring has spent 2011/12 broadening its multi-asset palette, launching emerging-markets and Asian versions of its fund. It has won another £500m of mandates in the 12 months to the end of June and now has over £5bn under management.
Pimco said it had generated 8% a year in this strategy over the past three years, net of fees, and its European assets under management here have risen by $11bn in the last three years. Pimco is primarily a fixed income manager, but its Global Multi-Asset strategy seeks “total return that exceeds that of a blend of 60% MSCI World index and 40% Barclays US Aggregate Index”.
Schroders’ main multi-asset strategy is more equity-focused than some of its rivals, and it has proved equally popular with investors, with more than £6bn under management. In the past year it has launched several new products, including an income-oriented alternative, and a specialist fund for the DC pensions market. Schroders’ broader multi-asset group reported net inflows of £3.8bn during the 12 months to May 31.
Multi-Asset – Absolute Return Investment Management Firm of the Year
The other half of the now-split multi-asset category, “multi-asset absolute return”, is meant to group contenders investing with a view to beating a benchmark of cash-plus or even zero – although over the long term that can mean much the same as beating the equity market.
Dynamic diversified growth at BlackRock “is a multi-asset class absolute return-oriented strategy”, according to the firm’s website, and the BlackRock Strategic Funds Euro Dynamic Diversified Growth Fund “aims to outperform cash returns, with a performance target of Euro OverNight Index Average plus 4% a year”. An investment consultant said he had a high opinion of BlackRock’s multi-asset strategies.
Europe’s largest hedge fund manager had grown to almost $37bn of assets under management by June. The flagship Brevan Howard Master Fund, a global macro strategy that accounts for most of the assets, made 12.15% last year, but was down 3.6% in the first half of 2012. Since its launch a decade ago, the flagship fund has made an average of about 13% a year, in line with its objective. Brevan Howard won the “global macro” category of the Financial News awards for excellence in hedge fund management this year.
Cantab Capital Partners
Cantab, with less than $3bn of assets under management and a computer-driven strategy, is “hedge fund-like but multi-asset”, according to an investor who said: “It is the best trend-following manager we’ve ever come across. We’d normally shy away from trend-following.” The quantitative fund has made 13.5% a year since launch in 2007 and the PPF appointed Cantab to run a Global Tactical Asset Allocation mandate in 2010. Cantab won the managed futures category of the Financial News awards for excellence in hedge fund management this year.
Ruffer is a long-only manager that does not take short positions, but it insists that, rather than focusing on relative returns, it tries to produce positive “absolute” returns in all market conditions and sees cash as the true benchmark. It aims to achieve this through brave asset allocation decisions. It has made 11.9% a year over the four years to March, and added 93 new clients with £564m net; having reached capacity, it is closed to new money.
Standard Life Investments
The Global Absolute Return Strategy aims “to deliver an absolute return over rolling 12-month periods and has a target return of cash plus 5% per annum [gross of fees] over rolling three-year periods”. It may take short positions. SLI Gars has raised more assets than any other offered by a mainstream asset manager in the multi-asset category and now has more than £11bn under management. Before fees, it has made an average of 13.7% a year over the last three years with volatility of 5.8%.
ETF Provider of the Year
The biggest ETF provider in the world, iShares has taken full advantage of its early debut in the sector. The liquidity is has achieved in key ETFs has enabled it to charge premium fees for products that offer investors tight spreads. It also backed the right horse with physically backed ETFs, which have won support from regulators as well as the media.
Synthetic ETFs may be out of favour, but Source has managed to win business from them over the last year. Owned by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Nomura, it can draw on their trading skills and counterparty guarantees. It has co-operated with Pimco to develop innovative fixed income products.
State Street Global Advisors
The firm has launched a series of ETFs in Europe over the past year, putting itself on the map as far as regional investors were concerned for the first time. SSgA works hard to offer good terms to its ETF marketmakers. Its US-listed S&P 500 and gold ETFs are the biggest of their kind in the world.
UBS Global Asset Management
The firm broke records this year by listing more than 60 ETFs on the London Stock Exchange all at once. It has enjoyed strong inflows over the past 18 months after receiving strong commitments to the business by UBS executives following trading irregularities at its delta one trading desk last year.
Vanguard Asset Management
Vanguard is starting to give iShares a run for its money in the US and is determined to develop a bridgehead in Europe opened this year. The firm is strong on research. Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock confirmed it was serious competition: “I have to give a lot of credit for Vanguard. They are a trustworthy brand.”
Property Investment Management Firm of the Year
The firm is one of the largest property managers in the world boasting outperformance in Europe over the short and long term. It also shows strong performance for a logistics fund, offering exposure to premises occupied by cross-border operators. Richard Tanner, UK managing director, developed a decent track record at UBS Global Asset Management. His advisers include George Henshilwood, previous investment chief at consultant Hymans Robertson.
Led by well-connected Ian Womack, Aviva’s property team continues to innovate. A key £700m launch involved liability-driven index-linked funds covering social housing, infrastructure, ground rents, student assets and commercial assets. Core and UK fund performance remains strong over the long term.
CBRE Global Investors
The firm sponsors a rich selection of funds which invest in a range of areas including sustainable buildings and trophy assets. Backed by a global research effort developed out of predecessor agencies Coldwell Banker and Richard Ellis, the firm was boosted by the purchase of ING Real Estate Investment Management in 2011. It has a good understanding of real estate finance.
Expected to profit mightily from redeveloping London’s Olympic Village, Delancey is run by Jamie Ritblat. He has received advice from his father John, who used to run British Land. Rather than coming up with strategy plans, Ritblat believes in taking an opportunistic approach, once saying he believes in “making money the best way conditions allow”. The firm owns several London landmarks including Royal Mint Court.
LaSalle Investment Management
The result of the merger of agents Jones Lang Wootton with US-based La Salle, the manager has enjoyed strong performance over most time periods. It offers access to sustainable and index-linked investments, plus a strong input into real estate debt capital markets.
Infrastructure Investment Management Firm the Year
Alinda Capital Partners One of the most popular infrastructure managers with UK pension funds, Alinda has had a busy 12 months. Funds under management increased by $400m to $7.5bn, and it scored a coup in buying Cambridge Water, gaining an unusual Competition Commission approval to own two UK water utilities in the process. It has also launched a new core infrastructure capability, luring Andrew Bishop away from Goldman Sachs to run it.
With £4.5bn under management, AMP has been investing in European infrastructure assets since 2005, but in 2011/12 the firm has been particularly busy. It has won a string of mandates for its Infrastructure Debt Fund, launched in December 2010 and recently closed. In November, it was hired by the Irish government to run a €1bn infra fund, consisting of assets privatised to meet EU bailout terms.
First State Investments First State’s €388m European Diversified Infrastructure Fund has returned 23.3% during the 12 months to June 30, 2012 – compared with a return of 7.5% for its benchmark. During the year the firm also recruited Philippe Taillardat, a former infrastructure manager at Amundi, as co-head of infra investment in Europe alongside Danny Latham, and also picked up a mandate from the Church of England’s pension fund.
Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (Europe)
Australian bank Macquarie is the world’s largest manager of infrastructure, and its European arm launched its fourth fund last autumn, raising €750m so far. Separately, its first fund – which was also the first dedicated infrastructure fund in Europe – began to exit its positions last year, selling out of Thames Water among others and delivering “strong returns” to investors, in the firm’s words.
UBS Global Asset Management
UBS manages close to $2bn in direct infrastructure, and its fund posted a cash yield of 9% during 2011. It has been a very hands-on investor; developing as well as financing a wind farm in Australia, and becoming the first financial investor in the Norwegian gas transmission network Gassled, injecting $315m to buy out ExxonMobil.
Fiduciary Management/Implemented Consulting Firm of the Year
BlackRock, one of the biggest third-party fiduciary managers in Europe, grew its business by two thirds in 2011 to $52.5bn. Mandate wins included the €8bn pension fund for Dutch retailers. It implemented new investment strategies to help clients either sell out of peripheral eurozone bonds quickly, or profit from the dislocations – as well as rolling out a new cross-border fiduciary service for multinational companies, and promoting the fiduciary concept in Scandinavia.
Cardano, one of the first fiduciary managers to set up in the UK, now manages about £7bn, having added three new clients during the year. Performance wise, clients that have fully delegated investments to Cardano have made 16.4% a year, net of fees, over the three years to May 31, outperforming the growth in their liabilities by 4% a year. Cardano is one of the few in the industry to publish public performance statistics.
It has a lower profile than some of its rivals, but PSolve is regarded as the first to offer a fiduciary service in the UK. Rivals compliment its innovative approach and expertise in derivatives. In the past 12 months it has brought in 18 new fiduciary management clients with assets of just over £2.4bn, taking its fully delegated fiduciary assets up to £4.4bn spread over 63 UK pension schemes. It has another 40 UK pension scheme clients which have just delegated the derivatives to it, which represents another £5bn of assets under management.
Russell has made a splash in the UK pensions market in the past two years with a series of high-profile recruitments, and says this is starting to pay off with client wins, too – 11 mandates in Europe during the 12 months to March 31, taking it to 26 clients and £7.9bn under management.
Investment consultancy Towers Watson has 30 clients in the UK for its “delegated consulting” service, a total that increased by five during 2011/12, including a landmark win at the £2bn Jaguar Pension Plan. Also during the year, it won its first client, the University of Warwick, for a new low-cost “delegated chief investment office” service offered to smaller plans. Its delegated hedge fund client performance composite has outperformed the Hedge Fund Research fund of hedge fund composite index by 4.5% a year since launch in 2007, with less volatility.
Asset Managing Investment Consultant of the Year
For generalist investment consultants that also offer a fiduciary management/implemented consulting service.
Last December the firm was lead adviser to the Rolls-Royce trustees and the sponsor in broking and implementing a bespoke longevity swap covering its £3bn pensioner liability. It has been building on its investment consulting expertise by increasing its delegated consulting clients, from 23 at the start of the 2011 to more than 40, with £3bn of assets under management – representing about 20% of all delegated mandates within the UK fiduciary market.
The consultant experienced double-digit growth last year, and won 248 new clients. Its Mercer Workplace Savings offering has attracted more than 25 clients, bringing combined assets under management on the platform to over £1.3bn. It has added talent, including an infrastructure specialist, and advised on the first longevity hedge against a non-retired scheme members’ longevity risk.
It has been a year of expansion for PSolve, with the acquisition of a US pensions consultancy and insurance sector advisory firm Meridian and many new clients. Overall it now has more than 150 clients, with about £27bn of assets, trusting it to help them improve their financial security whether through advice or implemented consulting.
The firm says it has regained its mojo after re-hiring Len Brennan as global chief executive and Pascal Duval as Emea head. Having gone through a period of uncertainty in the eyes of outsiders, it has rededicated itself to investment consulting and boosted that division with new hires, with Duval declaring this year: “The fundamental thing is the advice.” It now has 16 consultants in London for 22 consulting clients.
Towers Watson’s investment consulting practice advises over $2 trillion of assets globally, with a global network of 650 consultants including a global manager research team of 89 full-time researchers. It has a reputation for an innovative and thoughtful, almost academic, approach to emerging investment issues. Small asset managers, however, just say they wish it would spend more of its time looking into them.
Pure Consulting Investment Consultant of the Year
For generalist investment consultants that do not offer a fiduciary management/implemented consulting service.
The consultant has been quick to address the top issues for the industry, tackling Libor manipulation soon after the subject appeared on the front pages. It has added headcount over the past year, including an appointment to its Solvency II team, and founding member Adrian Waddingham was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Its target of winning two major new clients in the first six months of this year has been surpassed, adding eight instead – including a £150m client who decided to return to Buck after a two-year gap. It has added five new consultants to the team.
The team’s blog provides clients with information on the hot topics affecting defined contribution pension schemes, and the firm is an active member of Twitter. Over the past year it has announced several mandates, including one from the Lothian Pension Fund to use its online administration product. It has also developed a range of services to help mid-size schemes to prepare for auto-enrolment.
Lane Clark & Peacock
The consulting firm has continued to guide pension schemes with its annual reports on buy-ins and buyouts, and on pension accounting. In May it promoted seven staff to partners, and has been awarded several mandates over the year. In July it was appointed to provide defined-benefit investment advice to the £1.4bn Michelin Pension and Life Assurance Plan.
The consultant has won a number of new mandates over the year, and now advises 10 of the 25 largest UK pension schemes. It has increased assets under consulting by £48bn to over £230bn since July last year, and helped M&G Investments and Aviva to launch their social housing funds. It also runs teach-ins to help keep clients ahead of the curve.
Specialist Investment Consultant of the Year
The firm, formed in 1999, has added several alternatives experts over the past year to reflect increasingly sophisticated pension scheme allocations. It has assisted one of the top UK pension schemes in designing a direct infrastructure investment programme, and in 2011 was chosen to assist the Lancashire Pension Fund with a £1.5bn global equity allocation.
The French consultant is branching out to launch a fund of SRI funds. In its current guise it has advised more than €1bn of assets and was recently chosen by a French public pension fund to assist in the awarding of 10 environmental, social and governance mandates to seven asset managers.
Deloitte Investment Consulting
This year the accounting firm appointed Richard Slater from rival PwC as its new head of investment consulting, focusing on providing specialist investment advice to pension scheme trustees and company finance directors across the UK. His appointment comes after some years of growth, including two other senior hires in the last 12 months.
KPMG Investment Advisory
The accountants’ investment advisory arm offers the full range of pension scheme investment advice to more than 120 clients in the UK, with total assets of more than £10bn. It has also been making a name for itself in helping institutional investors select and monitor their fiduciary managers.
PwC's global consulting practice provides guidance on strategy, finance, operations, technology, people & change, risk and forensic services. It also engages with clients by producing a number of industry-specific reports.
Best Consultant Relations Professional
Ian Burton, AllianceBernstein
The head of UK client relations joined the firm in 2010 from Pioneer Investments, where he had been head of consultant relations, building the firms’ investment capabilities, including DC solutions. He has 22 years’ industry experience, including roles at Mercer and Insight Investment. Burton is also a council member of the Association of Investment Management Sales Executives and was recommended for the shortlist by a number of consultants.
Karen Roberton, JP Morgan Asset Management
Roberton joined JP Morgan Asset management in 1995, where she heads the consultant team in the UK and is responsible for several client relationships. She has also held the role of client account manager. Consultants said the law graduate was a good choice for this award.
Kerry Drew, Vanguard Asset Management
Drew left Legal & General Investment Management this summer after eight years at the firm, and is set to join Vanguard in October to broaden her experience in the fund management industry and take part in its planned expansion in continental Europe as well as the UK. Consultants and rivals recommended Drew as “truly engaged” with the industry.
Lisa O’Connor, Axa Investment Managers
O’Connor joined Axa Investment Managers last June to cover the UK and Europe. Before her appointment she was associate director, UK institutional sales, at Russell Investments for four years. She has 12 years’ experience in the asset management industry, and has a BA from the University of Queensland in psychology.
Nick Trueman, T Rowe Price
Trueman joined T Rowe Price in 2007, and is head of consultant relations for Emea. He joined after five years at Axa Rosenberg, and before that he was a graduate trainee at Schroders. The University of Edinburgh graduate was described as a good choice for the award by consultants.
Institutional Marketer of the Year
Alistair Wilson, TwentyFour Asset Management
One of the best-known characters in the industry, Wilson joined TwentyFour Asset Management in 2011 after almost seven years at Neptune Investment Management, where he led the institutional arm. He also spent seven years at Legal & General Investment Management in a business development role. The fixed income boutique has just over £1bn in assets under management.
Andrew Benton, Baring Asset Management
Benton was recommended by his peers, consultants and investors. He joined Baring in June 2010 from Schroder, which he joined in 2005. Baring has £29.9bn in assets under management, and has recently won mandates from the Dorset County Council Pension Fund and the £1.3bn Wiltshire Pension Fund.
Bernard Abrahamsen, M&G Investments
Recommended for the list by his peers and consultants, Abrahamsen joined M&G in 2002 as director of fixed income. In 2009 he became head of institutional sales and distribution. He has also held roles at Schroders, Rothschild Asset Management and Hoare Govett.
Mark Archer, Trilogy
Archer joined Trilogy in 2007 from Wachovia Global Asset Management. He has helped the firm to win 23 new clients in the last two years, a hit rate of 64% of finals attended, and has also seen the firm’s DC pensions assets grow to £100m. The firm will make a new addition to the London sales office next year.
Paul Price, Morgan Stanley Investment Management
According to one investor: “If you had a category for turnaround, MSIM would be top of it, and it’s thanks to Paul Price. He’s done an outstanding job.” Price joined MSIM from Pioneer Investments in 2010, and oversees the institutional and intermediary sales, consultant relations and business development teams outside North America. The firm’s Global Brands equity fund has been a significant asset raiser for the company.
Boutique of the Year for Equity Investments
Heronbridge Investment Management
The UK firm has nailed its performance-orientated colours to the mast by setting itself a limit of £1bn on its UK equity fund. By the end of May, when its assets under management had reached £388m, its UK equity composite had beaten the FTSE All-Share by 9% over 12 months and by 11.3% a year over three years, gross of fees, with below-average standard deviation of returns. An investor said: “We like Heronbridge, it’s tucked away, great numbers, very good with investors and easy to talk to.”
The Pyrford global equity fund generated top-decile performance for institutional investors in 2011, according to Camradata. Investors say they see the $4bn firm as a long-term, long-only, value-based investor. It has been winning mandates this year from local authorities including Wiltshire, Kensington & Chelsea, Sutton, and Richmond-upon-Thames.
River & Mercantile
River & Mercantile’s revenues went up by a third to £12m in the year ended March 2012, and profit almost doubled to £8m. Assets under management increased by 26% over the year, to £1.7bn. This followed net inflows of £400m, of which flows into global equity accounted for £310m to a range of clients spread nicely by geography and size. Its three-year performance in UK equities has been among the best in the past 12 months, according to the Camradata IQ tables.
Somerset Capital Management
The former Lloyd George Management has $1.5bn under management and is growing, winning an emerging markets mandate from the University of London’s pension scheme this year. Its global emerging markets fund has been beating its benchmark by about two percentage points a year for the last three years and by 2.5% this year, while its relatively new global emerging markets dividend growth fund has beaten its benchmark by 15.1% over a year.
Veritas Asset Management
Veritas has made progress commercially, taking its overall assets under management up by £1.5bn to £6.8bn as of May. Its Global Focus strategy has accounted for most of the increase, being up £1.3bn, to £3.3bn, over the 11 months to May; it also outperformed by 3.4% over the 12 months to May and by 10.19% over the three years to May. The firm hired Charles Prickett as private client director, and one investor gave it the thumbs up for the quality of its client service: “It is really good for a small firm”.
Boutique of the Year for Non-Equity Investments
Assénagon Asset Management
This German firm, specialising primarily in what it calls “market neutral credit strategies”, has reached €9.2bn under management since its launch in 2007, with assets rising from €5.6bn at the start of 2011. The four of its funds that have benchmarks – the volatility, asset-accumulation, emerging markets and European equity funds – have each beaten those benchmarks, while its other strategies – market neutral credit, absolute return credit and diversified income – have all done what Assénagon said they would do.
This affiliate of AMG – which increased its stake this summer – bought Crédit Agricole’s structured credit business on behalf of its clients and made money on the other side of JP Morgan’s “whale” trading. The credit manager drew praise from one investment consultant, who said: “BlueMountain has had really great performance. We like it a lot.”
The UK credit specialist has $8bn of assets under management – it gives advice on more – and opened a US office last August. Recent investment initiatives have included a strategy investing in subordinated financials debt, investments in “collateral upgrade transactions” and a new, real estate debt asset management activity. HM Treasury shortlisted Cairn in its Business Finance Partnership in March, and this spring it helped restructure $600m-worth of Uni-Invest/Eurohypo commercial mortgage-backed securities.
This affiliate of Natixis Global Asset Management specialises in the exotic side of the exchange-traded funds market, where it has €300m under management. The Ossiam US minimum variance index has beaten the S&P 500 index by 9.3% over 12 months at lower volatility. In January it launched a UK minimum variance ETF based on the FTSE 100.
Troy Asset Management
Troy resembles a younger and smaller version of Ruffer, according to one investor, who said of its multi-asset strategy: “Its numbers are great, though its performance has been flat this year as it’s been highly defensive, with lots of gold and cash. It’s been picking up charity mandates.” Its £2bn Trojan fund is the number one in its IMA peer group, “flexible investments”, over one, three, five and 10 years. Over the 12 months to the end of June, it was 6.3 percentage points ahead of the London Interbank Bid Rate and 10 percentage points ahead of the FTSE All-Share index.
UK Asset Management Firm of the Year
Owned by its partners, Baillie Gifford has easily outperformed the majority of its peers over the last few years in equities and diversified funds. It is unusually successful in winning North American business. According to a multi-management specialist: “It’s is hard to find a more impressive UK asset management company, commercially.”
Insight has thrived following its purchase by BNY Mellon, particularly thanks to its liability-driven investment style. Partly due to a rise in its bond-driven products, including swaps, assets rose by 50% to £140bn last year. Chief executive Abdallah Nauphal is viewed as an innovator: he recently unveiled Insight’s involvement with farmland.
Legal & General Investment Management
One of the steadiest managers on the UK scene, L&G’s passive strategies, including diversified growth, remain popular. It has figured strongly in automatic enrolment, with Marks & Spencer and the Co-operative among its new clients. Its transition and client service skills are viewed as excellent. Under fixed income chief Roger Bartley, its bond division continues to produce a solid performance.
M&G Investment Management
Under Simon Pilcher, head of fixed income and institutional funds, the firm has performed and introduced a series of innovations, including corporate and social housing lending. Chief executive Mike McLintock, who appears on the FN100 most influential list, runs a tight ship. M&G’s cashflow of £280m came close to matching Prudential’s UK life funds last year.
Standard Life Investments
Standard Life Investments is best known as the UK’s leading proponent of absolute return investment, thanks to the success of funds managed by Euan Munro. Its all-round performance, however, is also above average with its small cap, corporate governance and fixed income funds.
European Asset Management Firm of the Year
If there was some intercontinental competition between asset managers, which single firm would the judges choose as Europe’s champion?
Aberdeen Asset Management
Aberdeen has generated outstanding investment returns, especially in emerging market equities and emerging market bonds, where it has beaten its benchmarks over one, three, five and 10 years. It has complemented that with commercial success, making gross sales of £12.8bn to European clients over the six months to March 2012, taking the assets it manages on behalf of European clients to £110bn. These are spread over a wide spectrum of investment capabilities, including equities, fixed income, real estate and alternatives.
LaSalle Investment Management
LaSalle has been busy introducing innovations that fit the needs of its institutional clients, including the targeting of real estate assets with RPI-linked leases such as student accommodation. A real estate investment manager with €35bn AuM globally and €14bn managed for European investors, LaSalle has also pushed into real estate debt and mezzanine finance, integrated environmental issues into its investment process and made a series of senior appointments including Jon Zehner, Chris Brett and Roberto Carrera.
Majedie Asset Management
Majedie is simply dedicated to generating great investment returns for its clients. Its UK equity service beat its benchmark by 4.7% over the 12 months to March and by 1.6 percentage points a year over three years. Its global focus fund beat the MSCI World index by 9.7% over the year. The £6.7bn firm has raised assets – the global focus fund has grown tenfold over the past 12 months to almost £500m – but it has been abstemious in respecting its self-imposed capacity limits.
Big firms can easily overlook small clients, but not Pimco, according to one sub-billion pound investor: “They did a very good job thinking about what we want. They really deserve credit for that.” The firm also deserves credit for the courage it showed reversing the wrong decision it made on US Treasuries in 2010. Pimco gained $38bn from 217 accounts in the nine months to March and most of its funds beat their benchmarks over the three years to June. Its financials fund has drawn particular praise.
Schroders’ performance has slipped a little since a year ago, but only to its target of 66% of funds outperforming and with some, such as its emerging markets strategies, underperforming because of a defensive stance that may come to look astute. Where Schroders has really scored is commercially: it won £11.5bn of new mandates in 2011 and £2.8bn more in the first quarter of 2012. It bought 25% of Indian asset manager Axis Asset Management Company and hires included Bob Jolly, Ian Maybury and the Invista property team.
Most Influential Woman in Asset Management
Who exercises the greatest influence on Europe’s asset management industry and beyond?
Debbie Clarke, Partner, Mercer
Clarke joined Mercer in 2005 and has led the firm’s equity boutique within the investment consulting business since its launch in 2009. She also became a partner in April. As a member of Mercer’s international and Asia-Pacific rating review committees, she oversees manager recommendations made to clients. She was described by peers as “one of the best manager researchers out there”.
Helena Morrissey, Chief Executive, Newton
Morrissey is leading the fight to get more women on to UK company boards, founding the 30% Club last May. The mother of nine is a director of the UK Investment Management Association, and has recently been appointed to the University of Cambridge Endowment Fund investment board. Morrissey was appointed CBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list.
Penny Shepherd, Chief Executive, UKSIF
Shepherd has been chief executive of trade association UK Sustainable Investment and Finance since 2005, and has been at the forefront of the fight to promote sustainable investment and finance since 2001, when she was named the first chief executive of the London Sustainability Exchange. She is also a member of the advisory board of Ethical Corporation, a media company that provides business intelligence on sustainability.
Sarah Wilson, Chief Executive, Manifest
The shareholder spring brought corporate stewardship to the attention of the public this year with a series of adverse votes on pay and the toppling of unpopular chief executives. However, those in the know say engagement has been going on in the background for years and that Wilson, chief executive of proxy voting agency Manifest, has been a leading agent for change.
Theo Zemek, Global Head of Fixed Income, Axa Investment Managers
Zemek has spent more than 30 years as a bond investor, at firms including M&G and New Star. A pioneer of fixed income as an asset class, she launched the UK’s first retail high yield corporate bond fund in 1994. She joined Axa Investment managers in 2008 to head its fixed income operations, where she is responsible for more than 100 professionals and almost €300bn in assets under management.
Asset Management Chief Executive of the Year
Who has really made a difference at the helm of his or her firm?
Abdallah Nauphal, Insight Investment
Nauphal has made Insight a go-to firm for liability-driven investment products. He is highly respected in fixed income, and innovative in other areas, most recently farmland investment. The rationale behind all of his initiatives has been the same: he realised it is what pension schemes would need. Nauphal also deserves credit for the role Insight played last year in getting pension schemes an exemption from new European rules on derivatives clearing.
Charles Richardson, Veritas Asset Management
Trying to build an asset management firm from scratch in the middle of a financial crisis is just asking for sleepless nights. Yet Richardson has succeeded, introducing a global equity income strategy before it became popular and generating outstanding returns for clients. One investor said it all: “What Veritas has done in the past five years is impressive. It’s gone from nothing to £7bn without bending to commercial pressures, it’s just stuck to its guns.”
Dominique Carrel-Billiard, Axa Investment Managers
Under the clear-thinking stewardship of Carrel-Billiard, Axa has been likened to Manchester City Football Club: a series of big hires over the past couple of years including Jon Bailie, Tim Gardener, Julian Thompson, Lisa O’Connor and Laurent Seyer. Meanwhile, he has been dealing effectively with the fallout from troubles at Axa Rosenberg, with outflows now stemmed. He has done his bit, now it’s up to the people he hired to make a success of it.
Hendrik du Toit, Investec Asset Management
Under the 21 years of du Toit’s leadership, Investec Asset Management’s assets under management have grown from £40m to £62bn. Its last full financial year’s accounts reported net inflows of £5.2bn and record AuM for the third year in a row, with a diverse client base and a product range with top-notch performance, especially in emerging market currencies. He has pioneered international investment into Africa almost in his spare time.
Martin Gilbert, Aberdeen Asset Management
Gilbert has come far since having to answer Parliamentary questions on split capital trusts a decade ago – as far as taking his company into the FTSE 100 index, this year. He has built Aberdeen through acquisitions, but retained a long-term approach to investment and a tight rein on capacity that has generated outstanding performance, especially in Asian and emerging market equities, and given Aberdeen record annual results.
The awards will also feature the 2nd annual FN 40 under 40 Rising Stars of the European Asset Management industry. Please click here for the full list of rising stars.
The Financial News awards are unique as the shortlist is drawn-up by our editorial team who conduct extensive research in the months leading up to the awards. The winners in each category are then decided by a distinguished independent panel of industry practitioners who cast their vote electronically on the shortlisted companies/individuals. The winner is determined by the nominee with the highest percentage from the accumulated scores.