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Change at key fund

ASI manager resigns to seek new challenge

Aberdeen Standard Investments golf

Changes at key ASI fund (pic: Terry Murden)

A lead manager on Aberdeen Standard Investments’ flagship Global Absolute Return Strategy (Gars) has resigned.

Neil Richardson said he had decided to seek a new challenge after nearly a decade working on the fund.

Mr Richardson was one of four portfolio managers on the £3bn Gars fund alongside Katy Forbes, Scott Smith and Thomas Maxwell. In total the Gars team manages £10bn in assets, most of which is UK wholesale and institutional money.

Previously he was head of UK equities at Ignis Asset Management, which was absorbed by Standard Life Investments in 2014, and has also held roles at Citi and Threadneedle Asset Management.

“For several reasons, I felt that I was beginning to lose motivation and to underperform against my own expectations,” he wrote on LinkedIn. “I have therefore decided that it is time for me to leave, and find a new job in a different company.”

ASI said Alistair Veitch will join the Gars team. He has more than 20 years’ experience in equities and emerging markets.

A spokesman said: “Alistair has been a member of the Global Focused Strategies (GFS) management team since Q4 2018. The experience and positive contribution he has made in this role will allow for a seamless transition to the GARS portfolio management team.”

Gars has had a chequered past. Under the Standard Life Aberdeen name, it ranked as the UK’s largest fund in 2017 at £21.6bn. However in the following years it suffered an exodus as performance slumped and by the end of last year it had shrunk to just £3.7bn.

It saw investors withdraw over £1.1bn during the Covid pandemic but has seen a pickup in performance. On a three-year view it has returned 8.6% compared to the IA Targeted Absolute Return average of 5.8% though it still trails peers over one and five years.

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