New Star changes Asia manager in reshuffle

New Star Investment Funds has announced that Robert Jeffree will take over management of the New Star Asia Portfolio from Mark Harris, New Star’s head of funds of funds.

Jeffree has worked with the New Star fund of funds team since August 2006. New Star says that the move will allow Harris to focus on managing the New Star Tactical, Active, Balanced, Managed and American Portfolios.

The group also plans to merge its New Star UK Special Situations Fund with its UK Alpha Fund, subject to Financial Services Authority and investor approval. New Star says it took the decision because of the prolonged underperformance of the £35m Special Situations fund headed by James Ridgewell.

According to the group the merger is a positive action to increase investor returns as the £401m Alpha Fund, managed by Tim Steer, has posted returns of 106.5% from when it was created in November, 2001, to December 31, 2007.

This compares with a sector average of 55.5% over the same time period. New Star also hopes the merger will help to differentiate its five British equity funds by cutting down on overlaps between them.

The merger is provisionally planned for the end of February and, if it goes ahead, Steer plans to review the inherited stocks on a case-by-case basis.

It is likely that the stocks will be blended with the 60 stocks already in the UK Alpha Fund.