Schroders manager to join Neptune

Jeremy Smith, manager of the 53.7m Schroders Large Cap fund, is to join Neptune Investment Management in July. On arrival at Neptune he will take over the management of the 13.8m UK Equity fund from Chris Taylor, who also manages the Neptune Japan Opportunities fund.

Taylor has run the UK Equity fund since November following the departure of Greg Bennett, who left Neptune to join Marlborough. In addition to the UK Equity fund, Smith will also take over the management of a 28.8m segregated UK equity mandate that, like the retail fund, only invests in the 400 largest British companies.

Richard Buxton, head of British equities at Schroders and manager of the 656m UK Alpha fund, will take over the management of the Large Cap fund when Smith leaves.

While the group has stated the investment objective of the fund will not change, it says over time its holdings will reflect Buxton’s stock views on the FTSE 100.

Robin Geffen, managing director and chief investment officer at Neptune, says that as on all Neptune funds, Smith will not be constrained by house views when running the portfolios.

“The performance of Jeremy’s retail fund at Schroders has suffered as a result of the group’s underweight stance in mining companies,” he says. “However, the segregated mandate he currently runs, which is not constrained by house views, has performed much better. This is how he will run money at Neptune.”

Schroders launched the UK Large Cap fund in July 2004 and, according to Standard & Poor’s, over one year to April 10, 2006, it is ranked 268 out of 292 funds in the IMA UK All Companies sector.

This follows a return of 21.4%, compared with the peer group average of 27.4%. However, Geffen points out that on an annualised basis over three years, the institutional mandate he runs has returned 20.8% a year, compared with the FTSE All-Share, which has returned 19%.

Consistent with Neptune’s global sector investment process, in which each fund manager acts as an analyst for one or more global sectors, Smith will be responsible for the oil and gas sector.