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Jupiter Merlin sold Artemis Income ahead Gosden shock

Jupiter's multi-manager team sold the £6 billion income fund in the weeks before manager Adrian Gosden's surprise exit was announced.  

Jupiter Merlin sold Artemis Income ahead Gosden shock

Jupiter’s multi-manager team is believed to have sold its position in Artemis Income the week's before the shock departure of co-manager Adrian Gosden last month.

According to the funds' June factsheets, recently published by the Merlin team - headed by Citywire AA-rated John Chatfeild-Roberts - the £1.5 billion Balanced and £3.5 billion Income portfolios no longer have exposure to the fund.

The Balanced and Income funds' UK equity exposure fell from 36.5% to 32.4% and from 54.8% to 45.2%, suggesting Artemis Income accounted for a decent chunk of both portfolios. 

According to the latest Artemis Income factsheet, assets under management in the fund fell from £6.56 billion at the end of May to £6.1 billion at the end of June.  

It is understood the disposal process commenced at the start of June. On 20 June Artemis announced + rated Gosden (pictured) was leaving the firm after 13-years working alongside fellow Income manager, + rated Adrian Frost.

Merlin used to the proceeds to boost its exposure to the TB Wise Evenlode Income, co-managed by Citywire AAA-rated pair Hugh Yarrow and Ben Peters.  

Frost will continue to manage the fund alongside Nick Shelton, who joined the team in 2012.

The news was surprising, given it was assumed Gosden would succeed Frost as lead manager on the fund in the future.

Jupiter would not comment how long Merlin has held the Artemis fund.

According to Citywire data, since the Merlin Income fund became a Citywire Selection pick in January 2010, Artemis Income has been a constant fixture in the portfolio. 

Merlin has benefited from some good long-term performance from the fund. Over 10 years to the end of June, it returned 90.2%, beating the peer group average of 71%.   

As Jupiter always remains guarded on its fund disposals, it is unclear what the rationale was behind the sale, although recently the Artemis fund has struggled.  

In a statement following the Brexit vote on 23 June, Chatfeild-Roberts indicated he was happy with the funds held across the Merlin portfolios.

'The underlying fund managers in our portfolios have a general tilt towards high quality companies with robust balance sheets, which we believe should be well-suited to weathering the immediate storm,’ he said at the time.

Merlin retained its holdings in its other preferred UK managers in June.

These include AA-rated Neil Woodford's CF Woodford Equity Income fund, AA-rated Mark Barnett's UK Strategic Income fund, AA-rated Martin Cholwill's Royal London UK Equity Income fund and the Jupiter Growth and Income fund, managed by Steve Davies.  

Citywire verdict by Frank Talbot: 

It is not uncommon for funds to be dropped if the management changes. But with the continuity provided by Frost, who has managed the fund since 2002, it certainly raises a few eyebrows.

This has been one of the best ways to access high yielding UK equities for well over a decade.

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