(Update) Andrew McCarthy, the fund manager appointed last July by Janus Henderson to help head of European equities John Bennett (pictured) run his funds, is leaving the group after just six months.
A statement by Henderson European Focus Trust (HEFT), the £234 million investment trust McCarthy was brought in to co-manage among other funds, said it had been informed by Janus Henderson that he would leave the group by ‘mutual agreement’ in April.
Bennett, who has run the Europe trust since 2010, will continue as lead manager on the trust and all his funds. The departure follows a tough year for HEFT, which saw its shares drop nearly 21%, with a 10.5% decline in net asset value (NAV) in the last six months as markets ran scared of the US' rising interest rates and China trade war, according to data from Morningstar and Numis Securities.
Janus Henderson confirmed the departure, stating: ‘By mutual agreement, Andrew McCarthy will be leaving the business at the end of April. There will be no impact on our European equities franchise as a result of this departure which is well resourced by an experienced team.’
McCarthy was hired from the investment arm of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), having worked there for almost 11 years specialising in industrial and consumer stocks.
In his short stint, McCarthy supported Bennett on his seven open-ended Janus Henderson funds including HEFT's sister European Focus, European Selected Opportunities and the Luxembourg, euro-based Pan European and Continental European funds.
Announcing his appointment last April Bennett said: ‘Andrew has an impressive track record and demonstrated outstanding stock picking talent, which fits well with our high-conviction approach.
‘He brings a wealth of experience to our long-standing European equities team and his addition to the team will further strengthen our offering to clients.’
The brief McCarthy era follows a difficult period for Bennett, a value investor who feels uncomfortable with markets’ focus on an increasingly narrow group of growth stocks.
Bennett, who consistently held a Citywire manager performance rating from 2012-2016, has not had a rating of A or above for two years. Over three years to December 2018 the Janus Henderson European Focus fund ranked in the third quarter of its sector with a 15.2% gain, although it did comparatively better over 10 years with a 133% total return.
The investment trust has matched its European index benchmark with a three-year return on assets of 31.4%. However, investor caution on Europe saw the shares underperform, delivering 24.8%. The trust trades on a discount of 9.5% below net asset value.