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Jupiter’s Darwall to step back from flagship Europe funds

Mark Nichols joins from Columbia Threadneedle to replace veteran Alexander Darwall as manager of two European funds available in Asia.
Mark Nichols, Jupiter Asset Management

Darwall has been managing Jupiter’s European UCITS and European Growth Sicav. The two funds are available for sale in Singapore and the growth fund is registered for retail sale in Hong Kong.

“At this point we don’t see any reason for concern. Darwall will continue to head the European growth strategy team, while Nichols was co-manager of a Threadneedle fund that has a similar investment approach to the funds that he will be managing at Jupiter,” Luke Ng, senior vice president of research at FE Analytics, told FSA.

Nichols was co-manager (with David Dudding) of the Threadneedle European Select Fund, which has posted an 18.75% three-year cumulative performance, compared with a 35.47% return by the EUR6.2bn Jupiter European Fund and 26.13% return by the Jupiter European Growth Sicav.

“The investment approaches and styles are not much different, so really Nichols’ appointment represents continuity rather than change,” said Ng.

There will also be a transition period, with Darwall relinquishing control of the two Jupiter funds by the end of this year.

Darwall has managed funds for more than 18 years at the firm. Since taking on the European unit trust in 2001, he built it into the largest largest fund in its sector. He has also played a leading role in the development of the firm’s international business through the launch of the European Growth Sicav in 2007.

He will now focus on managing an investment trust product and his segregated institutional mandates, according to a statement.

Apparently, the initiative for the move came from Darwall.

“When [Darwall] approached us with his desire to focus on his European investment trust and the segregated institutional mandates, our priority was to ensure continuity of process and a smooth transition for clients in this important franchise,” said Jupiter’s CIO Stephen Pearson in the statement.

Nichols began his career in 2001 working with the European equities team at Invesco, before becoming lead manager at F&C’s European Growth & Income franchise and then moving to Colombia Threadneedle.

CIO Pearson was keen to stress Nichols’ qualifications to take on Darwall’s mantle, emphasising his experience managing large funds, his bottom-up strategy and his conviction approach.

“In [Nichols] we have identified a bottom-up stock-picking investor with experience across the market capitalisation range in Europe and a conviction-based approach to portfolio construction,” Pearson said in the statement.

Comparative performance of Jupiter’s European and European Growth funds and Threadneedle’s European Select Fund

Source: FE Analytics. Three-year cumulative performance in US dollars. FTSE World Europe ex-UK Index is benchmark of Jupiter European Fund and Threadneedle European Select Fund; FTSE World Europe Index is benchmark of Jupiter European Growth Fund.

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