JPMAM loss of Gartside ‘not a disaster’ for funds

UK fixed income manager praised for presentation skills rather than performance

The loss of bond veteran Nick Gartside will not come as a blow to JP Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM), despite him being one of the front men for the team, because of the strength and size of the firm’s global fixed income team, according to fund selectors.

JPMAM confirmed on Friday that Gartside (pictured) is leaving his role as chief investment officer in the global fixed income, currencies and commodities group to “pursue other opportunities”. However, it declined to comment on when exactly he will be leaving.

Gartside, who joined JPMAM in 2010 from Schroders, is a named manager on four of the firm’s global bond funds: Global Bond Opportunities (Sicav), Global Strategic Bond (Sicav), Unconstrained Bond (Oeic), and Global Bond Opportunities (Oeic).

JPMAM said Iain Stealey will take over Gartside’s CIO role and continue to co-manage funds on which Gartside was named, alongside Robert Michele, CIO and head of global fixed income.

Stealey has been with JPMAM for more than 16 years and, alongside Michele, has been a named manager on the funds since inception.

A JPMAM spokesperson said: “There will be no changes to the existing investment processes. Bob and Iain will continue following the firm’s team-oriented investment discipline, drawing on the global resources of JPMAM’s fixed income platform with over 280 investors.”

Michele and Stealey will also continue to co-manage Italy Flexible Bond (Sicav) and will be joined by Linda Raggi, JPMAM said.

Co-managers perfectly capable

Shore Financial Planning director Ben Yearsley said the Global Bond Opportunities fund “hasn’t exactly set the world on fire” since launch four years ago, outperforming the sector by 0.88% over that time.

He added: “Nick is an excellent presenter, however that doesn’t always equate to excellent performance. A firm the size of JPM can cope with losing someone, even of Nick’s seniority and his co-managers are perfectly capable.”

A true co-manager

Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott said Gartside was very much the face of JPMAM’s UK fixed income offering but behind the scenes Stealey was a co-manager “in the truest sense of the word”.

However, McDermott noted that US-based Michele is senior to both Gartside and Stealey.

“He was less well known to us as he was based in the US, but there were three co-managers on all the funds Nick was associated with and actually, Bob was the senior investor – the final port of call,” he said.

“Nick was one of the front men and would have been a big idea generator for the funds, but there is no real change other than he is leaving, they are not changing the mandate and the senior investor is still there.

“I’m sure Nick’s idea generation and input will be missed but within that broad team-based approach, it is not a disaster.”

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