Newton Investment Management has responded to the loss of John Wood, manager of its UK Opportunities fund (see above right), by appointing Ben Russon as lead manager. Russon, who joined Newton in 1999, has worked alongside Wood on the fund since its launch in 2002.Glen Pratt, manager of the Newton Income fund, will continue in his role as alternate manager of the fund, while former Income manager Robert Shelton will also assist. Shelton, who was involved in a serious car accident in February 2002, will support the investment process on a day-to-day basis. Newton denied speculation that he would take over the fund, saying it had appointed Russon as manager of UK Opportunities and he would continue in the role. Shelton and Russon, who both work in Newton’s Leeds office, have managed the Newton Osprey unit trust together since October. A spokesman for Newton said that Russon knew the Opportunities fund well as he had worked on it since its launch. The investment process and absolute return mandate of the fund will remain the same under his stewardship. The Newton UK Opportunities fund invests in about 40 companies, and is based on the best ideas of the group’s 22 analysts and strategists. While the fund is ranked 19th out of 257 funds in the Investment Management Association UK All Companies sector over three years to July 18, 2005, it is 207th out of 288 funds over the past 12 months, according to Standard & Poor’s.