RWC poaches BNY Mellon equity team

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RWC Partners, the UK fund boutique formerly backed by Schroders, has lured a BNY Mellon equity team responsible for nearly £10bn in assets, in a move that boosts its credentials as a high-conviction active asset manager.

RWC, which runs $13bn of investor money, has poached Nick Clay, one of the City of London’s best-known income managers, along with three of his colleagues from BNY Mellon’s subsidiary Newton.

The team, which includes Mr Clay’s co-manager Andrew MacKirdy, are currently responsible for running the top-performing £5.2bn BNY Mellon Global Income fund, as well as several related strategies.

They will lead a new global equity income team at RWC, which will sit alongside its UK equity income business. RWC has not struck a deal to transfer the team’s existing assets to its organisation.

The appointments are a boon for newly independent RWC, which last year bought back a stake in itself previously owned by Schroders.

The FTSE 100 group purchased a 49 per cent holding in 2010 and maintained close links with the boutique until disposing of its stake last year. Peter Harrison left RWC in 2013 to become Schroders chief executive and was RWC chairman until 2016.

RWC is now owned by its management, alongside US investment group Lincoln Peak Capital, which holds a 27 per cent stake.

Dan Mannix, chief executive of RWC, said that his company’s independent structure and boutique culture were “a significant component” of the Newton managers’ decision to join.

He declined to comment on Mr Clay’s reasons for leaving BNY Mellon, where he had worked for 20 years. However, he said that independent boutiques such as RWC were able to give portfolio managers the freedom and investment to do their job in a way that fund groups owned by large companies could not.

“Across the City, investment managers are becoming increasingly frustrated that they don’t have access to the resources they need to actively manage money,” said Mr Mannix.

He pointed to a “divergence” in the interests of asset managers’ shareholders and those of their portfolio managers and investors.

Managers that were bound to annual profit targets set by shareholders were forced to embark on cost cutting or corporate upheaval, such as mergers and acquisitions, which was “distracting” for their investment staff and risked compromising returns, he said.

Mr Mannix added that RWC’s structure allowed it to “focus on the long term” and provide its investment professionals with “commitment and stability”.

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Investment team liftouts are common in asset management and enable their new employers to bring on board professionals with a proven record of working together without resorting to M&A.

BNY Mellon has appointed Ilga Haubelt, who recently joined Newton as head of equity opportunities, to take over the management of Mr Clay’s fund.

The US investment group, which operates a multi-boutique structure, acquired London-based equity specialist Newton in 1998. Mr Clay’s fund is one of Newton’s best performers, delivering higher returns than its peers over one, three and five years.

Newton hit the headlines last year when the City regulator fined one of its UK equity managers for market manipulation. Paul Stephany, who was later dismissed, was found to have encouraged 14 rivals to cap their orders for shares in an initial public offering. Newton escaped a fine after assisting the watchdog with its probe.

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