Liontrust plans fund launches as it nabs Roberts and Milburn from Kames

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Liontrust will launch three fixed income funds after hiring David Roberts and Phil Milburn, whose exit from Kames Capital was announced this week.

The pair will join Liontrust’s Edinburgh office, where they will launch the Strategic Bond, High Yield Bond and Absolute Return Bond funds.

Roberts is currently head of fixed income while Milburn is head of investment strategy. Kames has announced that Stephen Snowden and Adrian Hull will become co-heads of fixed income with immediate effect.

Liontrust chief executive John Ions says they welcome the duo’s investor following, especially among intermediaries.

“David and Phil’s investment style means their funds provide diversification away from many of the other popular fixed income funds.”

Liontrust already has a Sustainable Fixed Income team of Stuart Steven, Kenny Watson and Aitken Ross following its acquisition of Alliance Trust Investments.

Tiley Group managing director Jason Hollands says the dual hires are a “real coup” for Liontrust and represent a milestone for the business as it builds out beyond equities.

“If it can successfully attract assets into fixed income strategies this will also help diversify its revenue base and reduce the concentration of its book in its hugely successful Economic Advantage products.”

Kames chief executive Martin Davis thanked Roberts and Milburn for their contribution to the company and said he wished “them every success in their future careers”.

Snowden will continue as co-manager of the Kames Absolute Return Bond Fund alongside Colin Finlayson and the Investment Grade Bond and Investment Grade Global Bond Funds alongside Euan McNeil.

Ryan Hughes, head of fund selection at AJ Bell, says Snowdon has a “great long term track record”.

“I expect very little change in the investment approach and while this change in manager will naturally lead investors to review their holdings, I would caution against making quick decisions given the strength of the team.”

Juan Valenzuela will continue to co-manage the Kames Strategic Bond Fund and will become co-manager of the Kames Strategic Global Bond Fund for which Roberts and Milburn were co-managers.

Alex Pelteshki who joined Kames in 2014 from ING Financial Markets has been appointed co-manager of the funds. Colin Finlayson will be support manager on both funds.

Iain Buckle will continue as co-manager of the Sterling Corporate Bond Fund which Roberts was also a co-manager. Rory Sandilands, who joined Kames in June 2016 from Goldman Sachs will join the fund as co-manager.

David Ennett and Stephen Baines will continue to run the Kames High Yield Bond Fund which Milburn was a co-manager of. Ennett will be joined by Jack Holmes as co-manager of the High Yield Global Bond Fund, which Milburn was also a co-manager of.