RECESSIONS are when reputations are made, they say, and that has been true in the world of fund managers. While some have battened down the hatches, the ones on our list have seen opportunity in crisis, and pushed ahead with flotations and expansions, or have just taken the chance to expand. All are stars in their own way.
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The fund management giant makes our list for two reasons. Firstly, it reacted to the crisis in western banks by launching a China fund run by its star manager, Anthony Bolton, showing that it is quick on its feet and takes Asia seriously. And secondly, it spoke out about the coalition government’s plans to raise CGT. In a world where many City bigwigs are quite happy to keep their heads down and do their moaning in private, that gets kudos.
There were raised eyebrows in the City when Jupiter pushed ahead with its flotation earlier this year, despite fellow fund manager Gartmore’s problems post its own IPO, but it has proved a shrewd move. In the first half revenues climbed 39 per cent, to £131.1m, and it has also seen an inflow of £814m more money, now managing £19.8bn. Shares are up 23 per cent from their initial price. Sometimes fortune favours the brave.
The story for Neptune over the past 18 months has been one of incredible growth. At the start of 2008 its boss Robin Geffen decided that it should double its funds under management in 18 months. Astonishingly, helped by a re-branding, a publicity drive and the launch of new products targeting emerging markets, it succeeded. At the time of writing it has increased its money managed from £2.5bn to £5.9bn. And all in a downturn. Not bad going.
If longevity is a mark of quality, then there is no doubting Schroders’ pedigree – it has been in the City since 1804. In these hard times many people have decided to trust the name, and
over the past year it has seen an influx of money – it now manages £164bn, up 16bn year-on-year. Its popularity is not all about those oak-panelled rooms and the lure of tradition, either; in the first half of this year it beat almost all predictions and made profits of £188m. In a world of fresh, young fund managers, the wise old heads can still perform.
ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT
Employing 1,800 people in 24 countries, FTSE 250-listed Aberdeen is one of the biggest players in the fund management industry. Its assets were close to an incredible £165bn at the end of June, £36.3bn of which was added in the past three quarters, and £11.2bn in the last quarter. Although it retains Scottish connections – CEO?Martin Gilbert is still based in Aberdeen – it is a very modern firm, and has recently received plaudits for its Asia Pacific funds. It is renowned for its single-minded, independent approach.