Douglas rejoins Morley to run fund with Lis

Mervyn Douglas is to rejoin Morley Fund Managers some 15 months after leaving the group to join Legal and General Investment Management.

Douglas, a UK fund manager, will join Morley next week and will focus on running retail and institutional high alpha portfolios, including co-managing the 31m Norwich UK Focus fund with David Lis, head of the UK specialist equities team.

Before leaving Morley in February last year, Douglas was lead manager of the Norwich UK Equity fund. At L&G he ran the LGIM Growth Trust fund, the management of which Robert Churchlow, head of UK equities at L&G, has taken over on a permanent basis.

Douglas’s appointment follows the group’s recent hire of Chris Murphy from Axa Framlington, who joins on June 5, 2006. The ex-manager of the Framlington Blue Chip fund is taking over management of the Norwich UK Equity fund, once managed by Douglas.

Additionally, Morley last week announced that it has acquired a 56% stake in the hedge fund management company ORN Capital. This doubles the size of its current alternative funds business from about $500m (277m) to $1.1bn.

The deal adds four funds to Morley’s hedge fund stable: event, distressed debt, debt equity and global resources and energy. It also adds a multi-strategy fund. The deal with ORN, which was founded in 1999, is subject to FSA approval in London and the Bermuda Monetary Authority. If approved, it is expected to be completed by no later than the end of June.

Finally, Morley, in conjunction with Aviva Fund Services, last week launched a Ucits III-compliant global tactical asset allocation fund. The Aviva Funds Absolute Tactical Asset Allocation fund seeks to beat the one-month London inter-bank offered rate by 15% per year.

To achieve this, it takes active long/short positions in bonds, currency and equities, and uses derivatives to gain additional alpha. The fund is managed by Steve Cleal, head of balanced funds at Morley, and Adrian Jarvis, head of strategy. However, while it is open to both retail and institutional investors, the fund has a minimum investment of 600,000.