Felton’s walkout prompts de-rating

Dean Cheeseman, head of UK business at the fund research company, says in most cases it would normally just suspend the ratings, but such was the surprise of Felton’s walkout, Cheeseman was unsure that F&C had adequate resources, at present, to cover it.

He says: “We were aware Felton [pictured] had concerns about the F&C merger due to the differences in culture between them.

However, after fighting to retain a number of analysts he worked with at Isis, it came as a surprise to us that he decided to leave. This eleventh-hour change did not send out a comfortable message and as a result we will want to see the culture at F&C bed down before we rate the funds again.”

Similarly, Hargreaves Lansdown and Rowan & Co Capital Management have both put sell notices on the UK Prime fund. Instead, Meera Patel, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, says it is switching its money to the JP Morgan Fleming UK Dynamic fund, run by Ajay Gambhir and James Elliot.

She says: “Although F&C Asset Management has a good team of equity analysts, the departure of another fund manager after James Foster makes us feel unsettled. The JPMF fund is an excellent alternative; it has a proven investment process that is backed up by a strong performance record.”

Tim Cockerill, head of research at Rowan, says he recommended the UK Prime fund primarily because of Felton’s name. As a result, he says any new manager is bound to change the fund’s character, so he cannot see a good reason to stick with it when there are other alternatives.

While he has not yet decided where to reinvest the money, he says it is likely he will put a portion into Mark Lyttleton’s Merrill Lynch UK Dynamic fund and some into Matrix Quantock UK Growth.

Derek Mitchell, lead manager of the Isis UK Select investment trust, has stepped in as caretaker manager of both Felton’s funds.