Square Mile strips Somerset EM fund of rating as Edward Lam exits

Square Mile has booted the Somerset Emerging Markets Dividend Growth fund from its Academy of Funds after it was announced the fund’s lead manager Edward Lam was leaving.

Lam is exiting the Jacob Rees-Mogg-founded business at the end of the month at which point a team from Liontrust will join the firm and assume management of the fund alongside Somerset senior partner Kumar Pandit.

Last week, it was announced that Liontrust has entered into a conditional agreement to offload its Asian Income team, headed by Mark Williams, to Somerset Capital.

As part of the move, Williams will become co-manager of the Somerset Emerging Markets Dividend Growth fund with Pandit from 1 November. He will be joined at Somerset by colleagues Carolyn Chan and Shashank Slava the same month.

“Lam will remain the lead manager of the fund for the time being to ensure a smooth transition to the new management team, which Square Mile’s analysts aim to meet in due course,” said Square Mile. “We would like to take this opportunity to wish Mr Lam all the success for the future.”

Trium long/short ESG fund bags A rating

Elsewhere, Square Mile awarded the long/short equity Trium ESG Emissions Impact fund an A rating.

It said: “Its manager makes long investments in companies which are undertaking measures to reduce their carbon footprints and environmental impact. At the same time, short investments are made in companies which have poor or deteriorating ESG characteristics.

“The fund is managed with very low net market exposure so returns, being driven principally by stock selection, should also continue to exhibit a low correlation to stock market indices.”

Aegon fund wins back rating two years after Stephen Snowden and team left

Square Mile has also reinstated an A rating for the Aegon Diversified Monthly Income fund after its rating was suspended in November 2018 when several key members of the group’s fixed income team, including Stephen Snowden, left.

Writing at the time, Square Mile said it was suspending its ratings on the Kames Diversified Monthly Income, Kames Ethical Cautious Managed and Kames Diversified Growth multi-asset funds, as they were then known, “given they all make use of the Kames fixed income capability to varying degrees”.

In the latest update, however, Square Mile said: “Aegon has steadily and carefully added resource to its fixed income team and it is now at a level similar to as it was previously.”

Schroders credit funds cling on despite loss of fixed income head 

The ratings firm also kept its A ratings held by the Schroder Strategic Credit and Sterling Corporate Bond funds despite the announcement that head of fixed income Philippe Lespinard is stepping down at the end of March 2021 after a decade in the role to be replaced by Andy Chorlton.

“Square Mile’s analysts believe this announcement does not meaningfully impact the investment process or teams of either of the Schroder fixed income funds in the Academy,” Square Mile said.

Analysts at Square Mile conducted 121 interviews with investment professionals from 34 asset management groups throughout September.

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