Martin Currie reshuffles UK equities desk as Colin Morton retires

Head role to be split between Ben Russon and Richard Bullas

Colin Morton portfolio manager in the Martin Currie UK Equity team and head of the team

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Martin Currie has named Ben Russon and Richard Bullas as co-heads of its UK equity team, as current boss Colin Morton prepares to bow out.

Morton (pictured), a veteran in the UK equity income space, will retire from investment management at the end of this year after nearly four decades.

He has been a member of the UK equities desk since 2011 when Franklin Templeton acquired Rensburg Fund Management. Last November, the team transferred to Martin Currie after its parent Legg Mason was acquired by Franklin Templeton.

Currently, the team oversees £4.5bn of assets, including the £910.4m FTF Franklin UK Equity Income fund, which Morton has run since 1995 while at Rensburg. Over the past 20 years, it has returned 338.8% compared to the average IA UK Equity Income return of 264.6%.

Russon will take over as lead manager on the UK- and Luxembourg-domiciled versions of Morton’s UK equity income fund, as well as the FTF Franklin UK Opportunities fund, with Will Bradwell and Jo Rands providing support.

The portfolio management duties on his FTF Franklin UK Managers’ Focus Fund will be split between Bullas, Russon, Rands and Dan Green.

Martyn Gilbey, UK country head at Franklin Templeton, said: “Franklin Templeton and Martin Currie are deeply appreciative of Colin’s leadership and his decades of service, commitment and dedication to the firm. We send him our very best wishes in his well-deserved retirement. Colin will continue to work closely with the team to fully transition his fund management responsibilities over the coming months.”

See also: Franklin Templeton UK equities veteran Mark Hall to retire

New UK equity team structure

Following their promotions, Russon and Bullas will have expanded roles in the UK equities team.

Russon will lead the team’s focus on UK large caps and will oversee portfolio managers Rands and Bradwell, while Bullas will continue to concentrate on the small- and mid-cap space and look after a team, including portfolio managers Green and Marcus Tregoning, as well as investment analyst Courtney Westcarr.

Both Russon and Bullas will report to Michael Browne, global head of investment strategy and oversight at Martin Currie.

Browne said the promotions reflect Russon and Bullas’ individual contributions to the growth of the UK equity team and Martin Currie’s commitment to promote talent from within as part of “thoughtful and strategic succession planning”.

“Both Ben and Richard have added significant and meaningful value to the team over the years and, in their new roles, will continue to work closely and collaboratively to co-head the UK equity team,” he said.

See also: Equity income managers shrug off ‘Armageddon’ UK recession fears and dive into mid-caps

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