Stockpickers who kept steady in seismic shift

Katie Derham presents the 2011 Fund Manager of the Year award to Martin Gilbert of Aberdeen Asset Management
FUND MANAGER of the year

This year’s nominees represent the very best of the fund management industry, taking in a broad scope of talent from commodity-based hedge funds to stockpickers focused on small British businesses.

Faced with rock-bottom interest rates and a dislocation in asset prices, fund managers have once again been forced to think outside the box this year to generate superior returns for their customers. Broader industry merger and acquisition activity has also thrown up add­itional operational challenges for fund managers.

The five we have chosen are individuals who have married perceptive and adroit asset picking decisions with the ability to weather the seismic shifts of consolidation currently underway in the asset management sector.

AND THE NOMINEES ARE…

TOMORROW: INNOVATIVE COMPANY OF THE YEAR

JULIAN TREGER, AUDLEY CAPITAL
Treger is co-founding partner of Audley Capital Advisors and runs the Audley European Opportunities Fund. His European fund has been one of the top performing hedge funds in the world this year, helped by Treger’s nimble investment in distressed assets of UK and European listed firms. Treger’s nomination acknowledges the growth of a new breed of shareholder activism in the UK and his pioneering role in the activism movement. Late last year he also took the reins of London-listed Anglo Pacific Group as chief executive, a sign of his wider skills in an executive leadership position.

PAUL MARRIAGE, SCHRODERS
Marriage is one of Schroders’ most prominent fund managers and is best known for guiding the Schroder UK Dynamic Smaller Companies fund and the Schroder Absolute UK Dynamic fund alongside his colleague John Warren. Despite a tough year for smaller companies in the UK and increased profit taking by shareholders, Marriage has been quick to reshuffle his portfolio to cope with the fresh challenges. Marriage came into the Schroders fold following its merger with Cazenove Capital and his nomination is both a testament to that deal and his proven stockpicking skills.

MARK BARNETT, INVESCO PERPETUAL
Barnett is Invesco Perpetual’s head of UK equities and runs the Invesco UK Equity Income Fund and Invesco Perpetual High Income Fund. Barnett has faced several challenges this year after the departure of prominent investor Neil Woodford from Invesco. But the funds’ strong performance in the wake of the exit has revealed Barnett’s strength as a stockpicker and his unflinching focus on delivering returns. His funds have come in the top quartile of performers this year and Barnett has remained among the UK’s best performing managers despite the headwinds – evidence you can’t keep a good manager down.

ANTHONY WARD, ARMAJARO
Ward is portfolio manager and co-founder of Armajaro Asset Management. Ward made his trading name in the press with his sizeable deals in physical cocoa but this year other agricultural commodities like coffee have helped power his performance. His CC+ fund, which invests in coffee and cocoa, has surged and is now ranked as one of the best performing hedge funds on earth. Ward’s former stomping ground, Armajaro Trading, a physical trading division he helped set up, was also sold earlier this year turning Armajaro into a pure play fund management house.

MARK SLATER, SLATER INVESTMENT
Slater is co-founder and chief investment officer of Slater Investments. He runs a range of UK-focused funds, ranging from the Slater Growth, Slater Income and Slater Recovery funds, and this year has delivered double-digit returns for his investors with some perceptive investment choices. Following a tough couple of years Slater’s conviction investment picks have been vindicated, propelling his funds to even higher returns. His company, Slater Investments, also celebrates its 20th birthday this year, testament not only to Slater’s stockpicking skills but also his business acumen.