Gartmore accentuates the positive

It is back to business as usual at Gartmore after the Rambourg distraction. Clients have kept faith as it recruits heavily and develops its absolute return retail strategy, writes Will Jackson.

“The sector has come in for a lot of navel-gazing and broad sweeping statements that I do not think are fair at all – although I appreciate that the market is getting used to the phrase ’absolute return’ and it means different things to ­different people. We’re having an input into the debate as to how we better label this sector. In terms of what we’re doing, absolute return is entirely the right description for the type of funds we run, which are trying to deliver a positive return in all market conditions.”

Pursglove says that, following the launch of Gartmore Japan Absolute Return earlier this year, he has no immediate plans to expand the range.

The oldest fund in the line-up is MultiManager Absolute Return, which was converted from Multi­Manager Global High Alpha in October 2008. The portfolio overlaps with another expand­ing area of Gartmore’s business – funds of funds, which is headed by Tony Lanning, who joined the firm in 2007.

Pursglove says the multi-manager range accounts for about £500m in assets and he expects the book to expand further, as advisers increasingly outsource fund selection over the next few years. He also expects core single-manager retail products such as European Selected Opportunities, Cautious Managed and China Opportunities to remain popular. “The assets that we raised for our China fund came almost exclusively from the UK retail investor,” he adds.

In terms of new hirings and products, Pursglove says there are “more to come” and he is confident that Gartmore’s business model remains an attractive proposition for fund managers.

“We’ve invested heavily over the years in our operational and risk management systems, so what we present to fund managers is a platform to which they can come and run money,” he says. “Even now we have a number of healthy dialogues ongoing with people – whether they come to fruition remains to be seen.

“We are looking for other opportunities where we might bring some value to the market with new ideas. In UK retail, my view is that any new strategies we would look to launch would probably be with managers that have not yet arrived at Gartmore.”