Columbia Threadneedle rejigs equity team as head retires

A senior fund manager's departure will herald increased responsibility for the Asian equities team led by Ng Soo Nam.
Columbia Threadneedle rejigs equity team as head retires

US asset manager Columbia Threadneedle Investments is reshuffling its senior fund management team in Singapore, partly under the direction of Ng Soo Nam, global head of Asian equities.

The firm will announce today that Vanessa Donegan, London-based head of Asian equities for Europe, will retire after 35 years in fund management, 32 of which she has spent with Columbia Threadneedle and its predecessor firms.

In January this year, Columbia Threadneedle brought together its two regional Asian equities teams under Singapore-based Ng. With Donegan’s retirement, the team of seven, which managed about $2 billion in Asian equities as of May 31, now has four people in Singapore and three in London.

Donegan will be transitioning portfolios over the next few months to Ng, who joined Columbia Threadneedle in 2013 following six years as chief investment officer at Nikko Asset Management, and Asian equity and fixed income manager George Godsen in London. 

Ng Soo Nam

The Threadneedle Asia Fund, handled by Donegan, will be co-managed by Ng and Gosden. 

Ng will continue to be lead manager of the Threadneedle Asia Contrarian Equity Fund alongside co-lead manager Christine Seng. They have managed the fund since inception in May 2014.

The Threadneedle China Opportunities fund, also led by Donegan, will be lead managed by Xu Jin, with Ng as deputy manager. Xu joined Columbia Threadneedle in 2014 as a portfolio analyst in the Asian equities team. 

All the changes will be effective from October 1.

“Currently, we have no plans to hire new staff to the Asian equities team but will look to resource appropriately if the need arises,” said Mark Burgess, CIO for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Columbia Threadneedle. "Given that China is clearly important, we will look to resource appropriately when needed.”

According to fund data provider Morningstar, the Threadneedle Asia fund has outperformed the Asia ex-Japan sector since 2014, returning 12.5% compared to 3.9% for the sector average and 3.3% for the benchmark index. So far in 2018, it has underperformed, returning -1.3% compared to 0.5% for the benchmark and 0.2% for the sector.

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