The FTF Franklin UK Equity Fund run by Colin Morton (pictured) has had its ‘A’ rating removed by Square Mile ahead of his retirement as head of UK equities.
The “difficult” decision was made in the investment consulting firm’s latest ratings round-up, with changes made after Square Mile analysts conducted 59 interviews with investment professionals from 34 asset management groups in September.
Square Mile said: “Current co-lead manager Ben Russon will assume responsibility for the strategy, and while Square Mile’s analysts acknowledge his experience and track record in running UK equities, the fund’s rating was centred on Mr Morton’s involvement.
“Moreover, given Mr Russon’s additional future responsibilities, both as a lead manager and co-head of the UK equity team, [we] would like time to assess how these changes settle in over the coming months.”
Another casualty of the September ratings update, the Matthews Asia Dividend fund has also lost its rating after failing to attract significant investor interest in recent years, Square Mile said.
Downgrades and Suspensions
Elsewhere, the CT UK Equity fund run by Columbia Threadneedle’s head of UK equities Richard Colwell had its ‘AA’ rating suspended following news that he is retiring in November 2022. Management of the fund will pass to head of UK equity research Jeremy Smith.
Square Mile said that they will meet with Smith before a further decision is made on the UK equity fund’s rating.
Abrdn’s £1.5bn UK Smaller Companies fund has been downgraded to an ‘A’ rating after lead manager Harry Nimmo announced he is to retire at the end of the year after nearly four decades in industry.
The decision to downgrade, rather than suspend the fund, was made due to Square Mile’s confidence that Abby Glennie, who succeeds Nimmo from 31 December 2022, will continue to apply their long-standing investment approach.
Ratings have been awarded to three funds that are making their respective debuts in the Square Mile Academy of Funds. The Guinness Sustainable Energy fund received a ‘Responsible A’ rating, while Aviva’s Multi-Asset Funds Core Range was awarded a ‘Positive Prospect’ rating after Square Mile recognised its “differentiated proposition” compared to peers.
Finally, Bluebay Asset Management’s Impact Aligned Bond fund has received the ‘Responsible Positive Prospect’ rating; as, according to Square Mile, it offers a distinct approach to achieving positive environmental and social outcomes by investing in global credit markets.