Morningstar puts Banyard’s Schroders funds under review

Morningstar has put Schroders UK Mid Cap investment trust and its UK Smaller Companies fund under review following the news that manager Rosemary Banyard is leaving the firm.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Banyard, who has been with the asset manager for the past 17 years will depart in March next year to pursue “other opportunities”.

Co-head of pan-European small companies Andy Brough, who has run the £538m Schroder UK Smaller Companies fund with Banyard since December 1998, will become lead manager while the board of the £188m Schroder UK Mid Cap trust has already agreed that Brough will take over as lead manager.

Brough will also become the sole head of the Pan-European Small and Mid Cap Team.

Morningstar research analyst Samuel Meakin says: “Following the news that Rosemary Banyard will be leaving Schroders at the end of March 2016, we have placed the Morningstar analyst ratings for the Schroder UK Mid Cap fund and the Schroder UK Smaller Companies fund under review.

“Both funds previously held silver ratings. We will meet with Brough in due course to understand his future plans for the team and the management of the team’s funds.”

Over the past five years the Schroder UK Smaller Companies fund has achieved a total return of 115 per cent against an IA UK Smaller Companies peer group average of 89 per cent. During the same period the UK Mid Cap trust has delivered a 125 per cent return versus an IT UK All Companies sector mean of 58 per cent.

Commenting on Banyard’s imminent departure Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier says: “The loss of an experienced fund manager is poor all-round – it is never ideal and I do not think it will be great for Schroders. Going forward we will be keeping a close eye on how the funds do.”