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Exclusive: Barings closes AAA-rated manager’s equity fund

Exclusive: Barings closes AAA-rated manager’s equity fund

Barings has pulled the plug on Citywire AAA-rated Ajay Argal's India equity fund and Citywire + rated Ghadir Abu Leil Cooper’s Mena equity fund, Citywire Selector can reveal.

According to shareholder notes at the end of October, the Baring MENA and Baring India funds are both set to be liquidated on December 19.

The decision was made following an ongoing review of the entire fund range in the wake of the merger of Barings and its affiliated companies under the Barings brand in September 2016.

The Baring India fund has been run by Hong Kong-based Argal since its launch in 2011, and had $24.2 million in assets under management as at the end of August 2017. A suitable fund to merge with could not be found, so it will now be closed.

Meanwhile, the Baring Mena fund has been under the control of Citywire + rated Ghadir Abu Leil Cooper since March 2010.

This fund had dropped to $4 million in assets, which was viewed as too low to be economically viable. No suitable fund could be found for a merger with this strategy either.

Leil Cooper also oversees the Baring Eastern Europe fund, but Argal, who is head of Indian equities, is not currently listed on any other funds in the Citywire database.

Barings confirmed the closures and said both fund managers remain with the company.

'The fund closures are part of our broader strategy of aligning our investment offerings to better serve our clients and their evolving investment needs.

'The decision has been made in consideration of client/investor needs, the funds’ economic viability and ability to operate in a cost-efficient manner due to the funds’ small asset size.'

The Baring India fund returned 40.2% in Indian rupee terms over three years to the end of September 2017, compared with the average manager in the Equity – India sector, who returned 42%.

The Baring Mena fund lost 22.3% in US dollar terms over the same period, compared with a 21.8% loss for the average fund in the 45-strong Equity – Mena sector.

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