Henderson Global Investors is planning to merge away 12 funds, a move which the group says represents its final integration stage following its purchase of Gartmore, Citywire can reveal.
The move represents the third round of rationalisations since the Gartmore deal completed in April and also follows the acquisitions of New Star back in 2009.
James Bowers, head of product at the firm, said the mergers represented the final stage of the integration of both the Gartmore and New Star ranges, and was an integral part of the group's plan to position itself firmly as a retail brand.
'What we want is to have the most attractive retail range to our [fund] buyers. It is very sub-optimal to have too many funds in it or duplication. We have taken a pretty radical approach. We started from the end position and said how we would like to see the fund range hang together, so it is broad yet focused,' Bowers said.
The rationalisations have been accompanied by proposals to change the investment objectives of two funds, which include broadening the investment universe of its £556.8 million Higher Income fund, run by Andrew Jones and Ben Lofthouse, by giving it a global remit and renaming it the Henderson Global Equity Income fund.
In a move which is contrary to other fund groups, Henderson, led by Andrew Formica (pictured), is proposing to turn its £43 million Henderson Diversified Absolute Return fund, run by Bill McQuaker and Paul Craig, into a total return mandate and rename it the Multi-Manager Diversified fund, which will move into the newly created IMA Mixed Investment 0-35% shares sector.
In other changes John Bennett’s £24.6 million European Focus fund will absorb assets from Simon Savill’s £58 million European Smaller Companies fund. The firm said it anticipates a period of small cap outperformance may come to the end, with an all-cap approach offering investors a better risk/reward profile.
Bowers added: 'I think it is a case of 10 years ago every fund group had one [a European small cap fund]. Sometimes you have to question the relevance of some sectors and this is backed up by a lack of interest from the fund buying public.'
Henderson’s fixed income range will also be streamlined with John Pattullo and Jenna Barnard’s Fixed Interest Monthly Income fund absorbing both the Extra Monthly Income Bond and High Yield Monthly Income funds.
Elsewhere, the £286.5 million Managed Distribution fund will be merged with Chris Burvill’s Cautious Managed fund if proposals are approved, while Lofthouse and Jones’ Global Dividend Income fund will be merged into the new Global Equity Income fund.
Nick Anderson’s SRI Global Care Growth fund is also set to take on the assets of the Global Care UK Income and UK Strategic Income funds, while the US Opportunities fund will be merged into Tom Marsico’s US Growth fund.
The proposed mergers and restructures will be implemented in two phases with some completing by 4 May, while others would come into action on 20 July. A spokesperson for the firm said there would not be any manager departures following the rationalisations.
Commenting on the rationale behind the proposals, Mark Skinner, director of retail global distribution, explained: ‘Following the acquisitions of both New Star and Gartmore we have successfully consolidated over 50 funds across our global distribution channels.
'It has always been our intention to further rationalise the UK retail range for two main reasons. Firstly, to remove complexity and duplication, and secondly, to enable us to focus on a smaller number of key investment strategies that are clearly relevant to our investors.’