November 27, 2021

Liontrust offloads Asia income strategy to Somerset Capital

Liontrust Asset Management agreed to sell its £82 million ($106 million) Asia income strategy to global emerging markets manager Somerset Capital Management, following a review.

In a regulatory filing Friday, the firm said it is selling the rights of its subsidiaries, Liontrust Investment Partners and Liontrust Fund Partners, to manage the Liontrust Asia Income Fund. Somerset will pay £2 million for the acquisition, which includes a team liftout from Liontrust, over five years.

Co-managers Carolyn Chan and Mark Williams, who is also head of Asia-Pacific equities, along with assistant manager Shashank Savla will join Somerset at the end of October as co-managers. The sale is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021. Following completion the fund will be renamed Somerset Asia Income Fund.

Separately, Mr. Williams, alongside Kumar Pandit, was named co-manager of the firm’s Somerset Emerging Markets Dividend Growth Fund, which has £486 million in assets. Current fund manager Edward Lam is leaving the firm at the end of November to pursue other opportunities, a Somerset spokesman said.

“It was extremely important that the team we hired were genuine dividend growth specialists and I am delighted that we have been able to attract someone of Mark Williams’ caliber and experience, Dominic Johnson, CEO and founding partner of Somerset Capital Management, said in a Somerset news release also Friday. “Mark has done an excellent job at Liontrust over the last decade, despite a challenging market backdrop, and has a track record of outperformance going back more than 20 years.”

Separately, Liontrust said it is closing another Asia strategy– the Liontrust GF Asia Income Fund with £14.7 million in assets under management and advisory– at the end of October.

Also, its European income and macro thematic investment teams, which manage £111 million and £84 million, respectively, will be eliminated at the end of October. Managers responsible for these strategies will leave the business, a Liontrust spokeswoman said.

Assets of Liontrust European Income and European Enhanced Income funds managed by the European income team will be managed by the cash flow solution team and will be merged into the Liontrust European Growth Fund.

The Liontrust Macro Equity Income Fund managed by the global equity team are to be merged into the Liontrust Income Fund while the Liontrust Macro U.K. Growth Fund is to be managed by the economic advantage team and is to be merged into the Liontrust U.K. Growth Fund.

Liontrust’s assets under management and advisory is expected to increase to £25 billion from £19.4 billion when its acquisition of multimanager Architas U.K. from AXA Group completes at the end of October. The purchase of the U.K. business of Architas was announced in July.

Somerset Capital Management had £5.4 billion in assets under management as of Aug. 31.

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