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Jupiter to revamp some Merian funds

Four of the affected funds are registered for sale in Hong Kong and/or Singapore.

Jupiter is to replace several Merian fund managers with its own and is mulling the closure of several Merian funds as it unveils the product range it plans to offer following its acquisition of the business.

Approximately 40 investment professionals, including 23 fund managers, will join Jupiter from Merian, the firm said in a press release issued Thursday morning. The announcement comes a week after Jupiter revealed changes to its distribution team, including Warren Tonkinson joining from Merian to become managing director for distribution.

Jupiter managers Harry Richards and Adam Darling will take on the £439.25m Merian Corporate Bond fund, currently managed by Lloyd Harris and Simon Prior, and financials specialist Luca Evangelisti will manage the $393.75m Merian Financial Contingent Capital fund (for sale in Singapore), also currently managed by Harris along with Rob James.

Jupiter manager Alejandro Arevalo will takeover the Merian Emerging Market Debt fund (authorised for sale in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan), currently managed by Delphine Arrighi. Patty Cao will join this team from Merian as an assistant fund manager “providing continuity for clients”, according to the press release. The Jupiter emerging market debt team would then have five investment specialists.

Mark Heslop, who only joined Jupiter in October 2019, will take on the Merian Europe (ex-UK) Smaller Companies fund (authorised for sale in Hong Kong and Singapore), currently run by Ian Ormiston. It was only in February that Jupiter launched the European Smaller Companies fund for Heslop, who took over from Alexander Darwall.

Future of several funds in doubt

Jupiter also stated that the future of several funds was in doubt.

Jupiter said in a press release it “anticipated” the Merian Systematic Positive Skew fund would close in an “orderly process”. Mark Greenwood would continue to manage the fund in the interim.

The future of the Merian Global Dynamic Allocation fund, a hedge fund-type product authorised for sale in Hong Kong and Singapore, is also being assessed.

Jupiter has its own fund closures in the works. In February, Jupiter announced the Jupiter UK Alpha and Enhanced Distribution funds would close by the end March, although that process has been delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Jupiter touts fresh UK equities expertise and funds in gold and unquoted

Jupiter said it was adding to its analyst pool in equities and fixed income. It said product specialists and sustainability were other areas it sought to bolster.

Richard Buxton, who had led the buyout of Merian from Old Mutual, will bring across the Merian UK Alpha strategy along with his long-standing team. Buxton has already been appointed to the Jupiter UK Growth investment trust following the shareholder vote in favour of the acquisition. He replaced Steve Davies, who has departed the firm.

Jupiter touted the Merian UK Small and Mid-Cap strategy, managed by Dan Nickols and Richard Watts, as another product that would bolster its UK equities expertise. The Merian UK Specialist Equity and Merian UK Opportunities funds were also highlighted.

“Not only have we expanded our fund range to include attractive new propositions such as global systematic equity and liquid alternatives, but we have also been able to add scale to areas where we are seeing increasing demand from investors, in fixed income and emerging market debt,” said Jupiter CIO Stephen Pearson.

Jupiter touted Merian Chrysalis and Ned Naylor-Leyland’s gold and silver funds among the products that would extend its expertise in new investment areas. The Merian Global Systematic Equities and Merian Strategic Absolute Return Bond Funds were also highlighted.

The flailing Merian Global Equity Absolute Return will also come across.

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