Advisers unfazed by Foster’s Isis exit

Fatima Luis, who manages all the group’s high-yield funds, will now take over as lead manager. She will be supported by Alex Ralph, as deputy manager. Both have worked with Foster in the past and have been running the funds since July 26, when he began his sabbatical.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier says: “Foster’s decision to go is a loss to Isis, as he seemed to be its public face for bonds. However, he is not the only one there; with the merger with F&C and Luis, the group has a good fixed income team.” As a result, although Dampier will be meeting Luis this week, he will not be putting any of the funds on hold for the time being.

Darius McDermott, managing director of Chelsea Financial Services, takes the same view. Indeed, he notes that since Luis and Ralph took over the Strategic Bond fund two months ago, it has performed better than any other similar mandated fund. As a result, it will remain on his buylist.

McDermott says: “There are not many like-for-like funds in this area of the market. The only obvious one is the Threadneedle Strategic Bond fund. We compared it with four other similar funds in the IMA UK Other Bond sector and it came top.”

Since taking over from Foster at the end of July, Luis has been active in making changes to the Strategic Bond fund. She raised its risk profile by investing a proportion of its cash reserves into high-yield. To compensate for this added risk, she also shortened duration in the investment-grade portion of the portfolio.

With the merger between F&C and Isis finalised, the combined group will be known as F&C Asset Management from this week. The new group will manage £35.5bn of fixed income assets, of which about £22bn is in corporate debt.