Disappointment as Rosemary Banyard prepares to leave SDL

UK equities manager to depart just shy of fund’s three-year track record

Rosemary Banyard

Rosemary Banyard is to leave Sanford Deland Asset Management (SDL) in autumn several months shy of her UK All Companies fund reaching its three-year track record.

The announcement comes weeks after the boutique fund house appointed its first chief executive, former Franklin Templeton retail head Alex Brotherston. SDL said in a press release Banyard (pictured) was leaving for personal reasons.

She had joined SDL in late 2016 having spent 18 years at Schroders, where she worked closely with Andy Brough.

In an interview with Portfolio Adviser last year, she said the Free Spirit fund she launched in January 2017 should reach around £25m by its three-year anniversary in 2020.

Willis Owen head of personal investing Adrian Lowcock said her departure would be a disappointment due to the fact she is a well-known and regarded fund manager. SDL said Andrew Vaughan would work closely with Banyard over the next six months as she prepares to leave to the firm, but Lowcock said it would be good to hear more details on the plans the firm has following her departure.

However, he added: “The fund group’s flagship fund remains intact and has been growing assets, while her Free Spirit fund was still fairly small so the departure should have minimal impact on the group. The fact that the group has made this announcement ahead of Rosemary’s planned departure suggests they are well prepared for the change and have given investors plenty of notice.”

SDL UK Buffettology, managed by CIO Keith Ashworth-Lord, has £724m assets under management. Ashworth-Lord had been managing director at the firm, which he founded in 2014, before making way for Brotherston to come on as CEO.

Brotherston said: “We are sorry to see Rosemary go and wish her all the very best. We would like to thank her for the expertise and insight she has contributed to the SDL business and as manager of Free Spirit fund.”

He added: “This is a positive time of steady growth for the SDL business, as we see continuing inflows into the Buffettology fund while it gains traction with investment intermediaries, who value the fund for its consistency and positive track record.

“Although Free Spirit is a relatively new fund, it has an encouraging track record and a portfolio of high quality businesses. Andrew Vaughan will continue to work closely with Rosemary over the coming six months.”

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