Downing snaps up Syz Asset Management duo for European income fund

Michael Clements and Pras Jeyanandhan spent past five years at Swiss-based manager

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Downing Fund Managers has hired a fund manager duo from Swiss-based Syz Asset Management to run a new European income fund.

Michael Clements (pictured) and Pras Jeyanandhan have joined the boutique to manage the VT Downing European Unconstrained Income fund.

The pair have worked together for the past five years managing the Oyster European mandates at Syz AM where Clements was head of European equities and Jeyanandhan was a portfolio manager.

A press release said the fund will invest in a portfolio of 30-40 European all-cap stocks with a focus on contrarian investment opportunities. It will target a yield of at least the MSCI Europe ex UK index. with quarterly distributions and an annual management fee of 0.75% for the A share class.

The appointments follow the hires in March of Rosemary Banyard to manage the VT Downing Unique Opportunities fund and Anthony Eaton to manage the VT Downing Global Investors fund.

Downing Fund Managers partner and head Judith MacKenzie described the appointments as a “real triumph” for the company.

“Culturally it is an excellent fit and Mike and Pras’ process and style has much in common with our overall approach of running concentrated, high conviction portfolios that aim to generate attractive returns over the long term,” she added.

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Clements’ investment career began in 1999 as a European equity analyst at UBS Asset Management. In 2008, he moved to Franklin Templeton Investments, where he managed the €3bn Franklin European Growth fund and related mandates, before joining Syz AM in 2014.

Jeyanandhan started his career in 2005 with KPMG before moving to HSBC as a strategy analyst. In 2011 he joined Berenberg Bank as an equity analyst, leading financials coverage, before joining  Syz in 2015 as an investment analyst and then portfolio manager.

Clements said: “While many European income funds focus on more traditional high-yielding sectors, our investment style means that we tend to have different alpha sources to our peers, which leads to a differentiated portfolio that can deliver consistent yield plus clear diversification benefits.”

Jeyanandhan added: “We aim to generate alpha in two ways – both by buying good quality, well-known companies that are temporarily out of favour with the market, and by buying those ‘under the radar’ stocks that are under researched or have fallen out of our peers’ investable universe.”

Earlier this month, Downing announced its intention to launch an initial public offering for an investment trust investing in renewable energy.

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