Square Mile has removed the Crux European Special Situations strategy from its Academy of Funds following a challenging performance period.
In its ratings roundup for March, the firm conducted 79 interviews with investment professionals from 37 asset management groups over the course of the month.
Explaining the decision, the research firm said: “While recognising the experience of the fund’s managers, [Square Mile analysts] have been disappointed in the return profile which has not been in line with expectations. As a result, their conviction has waned to a level where they feel the fund no longer warrants inclusion within the academy.”
TT European Opportunities Long/Short fund has also been ejected from the academy with the strategy set to shutter on 21 April.
Square Mile said the fund had been “impressive” in its ability to protect investors’ capital, and was disappointed to receive the news of its closure.
European equities have generally been out of favour with investors over the last decade, but are experiencing a ‘relief rally’ as the impact from higher energy costs proves less severe than feared.
Staying on the continent, Abrdn’s Europe ex-UK Income Equity fund has been inducted into the Square Mile academy by receiving a ‘Positive Prospect’ award. This rating is given to funds that Square Mile analysts believe have the potential to be ‘highly compelling’ propositions.
Elsewhere, the seven Liontrust fixed-income strategies within the academy, which are managed by Stuart Steven, have retained their ratings despite his decision to retire at the end of September.
Two sustainability-focused funds have been inducted into the firm’s academy for the first time.
Fundsmith Sustainable Equity has received a ‘Responsible A’ rating due to it following the same “tried and tested” process as Fundsmith Equity, but with more focus on ESG. Janus Henderson Global Responsible Managed has been given the same rating, with Square Mile considering it to be ‘a sound offering’ for investors seeking a responsible multi-asset offering.
The only downgrade in March was the Artemis US Select fund, to an ‘A’ from ‘AA’.
Explaining the decision, Square Mile said: “While the analysts continue to believe that the process behind the fund will add value over time, they believe an A rating better reflects their current level of conviction in the strategy.”