Old Mutual lines up Ewing and Hall for hedge fund launch

Old Mutual has hired North American experts Terry Ewing and Ann Hall to run a new long/short hedge fund. The group is also giving “serious” consideration to the launch of a retail fund on the back of these new appointments.

The new retail fund would aim to capitalise on Ewing and Hall’s stockpicking style. It is intended that the fund would complement, rather than compete with, the existing Old Mutual North America Equity fund. The existing fund has around 200 stocks and is run using a quantitative process.

Simon Wilson, head of marketing at Old Mutual, says the management of the existing fund would remain unchanged in the event of a new launch. He adds: “Terry Ewing and Ann Hall are active, stockpicking fund managers. Terry has found a lot of his performance has come from mid and smaller-capitalisation companies.”

Ewing was previous manager of the Britannic American Growth fund and head of US equities for the group. He was made redundant from Britannic as part of the group’s cost-cutting programme in January 2003 and was replaced by Alison Wright. Ewing’s fund performed well in the growth markets of the late 1990s, but suffered as the market swung to more value-orientated stocks from 2000.

Hall was previously head of US equities at Henderson and manager of the American Smaller Companies fund there. Peter Kay, head of the US and global equity team at Henderson, will take over the running of the fund when Hall leaves.

The American Smaller Companies fund has lost 29.2% over the three years to December 29, placing it second out of the four funds in the S&P Smaller Companies North America sector. Both managers will arrive at Old Mutual in February.

The hedge fund will be launched in the second quarter of 2004, with details being finalised once Hall and Ewing join the firm. Neither has been directly responsible for a hedge fund before, but they are understood to be keen to capitalise on their stockpicking skills by selling stock short as well. The new fund is part of a drive by Old Mutual to extend its product range. The group said in December that it was looking for a fund manager to run a new high-yield bond fund.