Baring Asset Management's UK equity team may have little to celebrate this festive season - by Christmas Eve the manager would have been sacked for one month to the day from a $1 billion multi-manager investment service operated by Bank of Bermuda (BoB).
The bank held a roadshow in Hong Kong two months ago promoting the 18-month-old investment service to institutional and high net worth investors.
Until November 24, Baring was one of 11 managers for BoB's All Points Multi-Manager investment service, managing a ú23.8 million ($35 million) equity portfolio. As at November 30, the manager underperformed its benchmark FTSE All-Share index by more than 8% since the launch of the investment service in May last year, losing 7.91% of the portfolio's net asset value. Edinburgh Fund Managers has been selected to take over from Baring.
"We did not take the decision to select a new manager lightly," Wayne Chapman, BoB's senior vice president of investment services, said in the past week. "But out of our 11 different portfolios, the UK equity portfolio has been the one that has not performed as well as we would wish. Our first priority is to ensure that every portfolio within APMM (All Points Multi-Manager) provides superior performance for our clients."
Chapman believes that the investment process and philosophies of Edinburgh will prove to be a better fit for the investment program's UK equity portfolio over the short and long term.
Other managers for the investment service include Alliance Capital Management (US large cap with $180.3 million under management), Global Asset Management (Japanese equity, $50.8 million), Schroders (Asian equity, $94.3 million), Black Rock (short duration bond, $140.8 million), and Bridgewater (high yield bond, $52.3 million).
JP Morgan manages three of the 11 portfolios: a global dollar bond ($241.2 million), a global sterling bond (ú11.7 million) and a global euro bond (Eu8 million [$7.15 million]). Although Morgan underperforms slightly in all three relative to their benchmarks, it seems the manager is safe from being fired.
"The important point is not to just look at benchmarks," says Glenn Trotman, BoB's director of investments. "When we evaluate a manager's performance, we look at two areas: performance relative to benchmarks; and also performance relative to peer groups, and in this instance JP Morgan is near the top of its class."
As at the end of November, outperformers in BoB's multi-manager investment service include Warburg Pincus (US small cap with $58.3 million under management), returning 73.6% over a benchmark of just 0.63% since inception; and Invesco (European equity, Eu136.1 million), raking in 52.8% against a benchmark of 26.5%.