LGIM underwhelms with Richard Penny replacement

Mirabaud manager takes over UK Special Situations following long search

Legal & General Investment Management has appointed a little-known replacement for Richard Penny (pictured) almost a year since the UK equities manager departed and several months after he launched a rival fund at Crux Asset Management.

Robert White joins LGIM from Mirabaud Asset Management where he was a fund manager of a long-only UK equity portfolio. At LGIM he will manage the L&G UK Special Situations trust, which has been managed by Gavin Launder since Penny’s departure.

Portfolio Adviser is awaiting information from LGIM on White’s track record as a fund manager.

Fundcalibre managing director Darius McDermott likewise could not find a track record for his performance at Mirabaud and said he was underwhelmed LGIM had not recruited a manager with more of a “wow” factor after a 10-month-plus search. “I’m surprised it’s taken so long to find someone nobody knows of.”

Prior to joining Mirabaud in 2013, White was a senior associate within transaction services for PWC.

Fundcalibre dropped its ‘elite’ rating for both Penny’s L&G UK Alpha and L&G UK Special Situations funds when he left. Rod Oscroft took over the UK Alpha trust in January.

Crux vs LGIM UK Special Situations

The £249.4m UK Special Situations Trust has fallen 18.13% over the period since Penny’s exit was announced in January, according to FE Analytics. Over the same period, the UK All Companies sector has fallen 11.16%.

In a press release, LGIM said White has typically managed unconstrained portfolios of 30 to 40 stocks based around secular growth themes.

Crux announced in September it was launching the UK Special Situations fund for Penny, who joined in June after a period of gardening leave. The fund has fallen 9.81% since the start of October, but has still outperformed the 14.13% drop on the L&G UK Special Situations Trust and the -10.34% delivered by the FTSE All Share.

The fund is already on Fundcalibre’s watchlist.

Further UK equity appointments

LGIM has also made two further appointments to the UK equities team.

Stuart Briscoe becomes a UK and Europe equity analyst having previously covered emerging markets at ICM. Briscoe also held roles at Sarasin and Henderson Global Investors. Brad Jacobs joined in October as an equity analyst for the global income and real income builder strategies. He was previously an investment banking associate at Goldman Sachs. Prior to this, he was an engineer at Anglo American.

Oscroft, co-head of active equities, said the appointments strengthen LGIM’s capability in global equity markets and across the market cap. “We’ve seen continued demand from investors looking for actively managed, high conviction equity strategies, especially as we move into a more volatile market environment,” Oscroft said.

LGIM’s £7bn active equity team is comprised of three groups: income, growth, and global equity.

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