Mid Wynd switch to Lazard Asset Management completes

Lazard will waive fees for three and-a-half months amid initial portfolio changes

Barnaby Wilson and Louis Florentin-Lee
Barnaby Wilson and Louis Florentin-Lee


The management of the £408.2m Mid Wynd International Investment Trust has now formally been transferred over to Lazard Asset Management, after nine years of being run by Artemis.

The decision to move came following the departure of co-managers Rosanna Burcheri and Alex Illingworth, as well as fellow co-manager Simon Edelsten’s upcoming retirement.

New managers Louis Florentin-Lee and Barnaby Wilson, who currently head up Lazard’s open-ended Lazard Global Quality Growth fund, will retain Artemis’s valuation discipline and quality bias, but will provide a new focus on picking companies generating high sustainable returns on capital, as opposed to centring the portfolio around several secular growth themes.

See also: Mid Wynd chair Russell Napier on switching trust management to Lazard

This new approach – which Florentin-Lee first adopted on his fund back in 2011 – means the trust will hold a more concentrated portfolio of between 40 and 50 stocks at any one time. Under Artemis, Mid Wynd was able to hold between 40 and 140 holdings at any one time.

Lazard has waived its fee for the first three-and-a half months in a bid to ensure current investors are not “penalised” by any initial portfolio changes made by the new managers.

Florentin-Lee said: “We look for companies making great returns. We are taught in economics that those returns attract greater competition, which ultimately drives down profitability.

“We think we can find companies capable of defying this economic law. The way the market prices these stocks reflects how long it believes the company can protect its advantage.

“We work the numbers back from there, and we will consider buying where we think the market is significantly underestimating a company’s competitive durability.”

The trust will also now use Juniper Partners as its administrator and JP Morgan as its depositary, having previously used Artemis and Northern Trust for these functions respectively.

Professor Russell Napier, Mid Wynd’s board chair, said: “A change of personnel left us with little choice but to look at the full range of manager alternatives. We are excited about the team from Lazard – they have an outstanding performance history, outperforming markets on the upside and providing protection in down markets.

“Until now their long-running, all-world strategy has been available only to institutional investors. We are bringing this fantastic team and process to a wider market.”

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