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Exclusive: JPM switches AAA-rated managers amid fund overhaul

Exclusive: JPM switches AAA-rated managers amid fund overhaul

JPM Asset Management has replaced Citywire AAA-rated Ayaz Ebrahim and Robert Lloyd on its Asia equity fund amid plans to overhaul its investment approach to add a greater emphasis on growth stocks.

According to a shareholder note seen by Citywire Selector, Ebrahim and Lloyd, who were handed the JPM Asia Equity fund in February of last year, will step down at the start of next month.

This will see Citywire AAA-rated Joanna Kwok – who featured prominently in Citywire’s latest Alpha Female report – and co-manager Mark Davids, who is Citywire A-rated, installed as the new co-leads.

In addition, Kwok and Davids will be charged with refining the fund’s current investment philosophy to make it a concentrated, growth-orientated portfolio. It will also be renamed as the JPMorgan Funds – Asia Growth fund.

Kwok and Davids are responsible for JPM AM’s overall Asia Growth Strategy at present.

Ebrahim and Lloyd remain with the group and retain responsibilities for the JPMorgan Eastern fund, while Ebrahim is also co-manager on the JPMorgan Korea and JPM Korea Equity funds. The pair oversee $5.3 billion in funds and institutional assets.

According to the note, JPM AM intends to make the change in the best interest of shareholders following an internal review of regional capabilities.

The firm said: 'It was determined that a change of strategy should make the sub-fund a more competitive offering in this space, which could improve its ability to attract new investments.'

A spokesperson for JPM AM added: 'The portfolio manager changing of the guard on this fund is a function of the strategy shift towards a concentrated all-cap growth portfolio, an investment approach to be refined by Joanna and Mark.'

The fund currently has $80.4 million in assets under management, having returned 16.6% in US dollar terms over the three years to the end of July 2017. The average manager in the Equity – Asia sector returned 12.4% over the same timeframe.

JPM AM expects the changes to come into effect fully by September 29 and result in a 30% turnover of stocks. This is while the new managers will be given flexibility to make the portfolio more concentrated, with a target of 40-60 holdings.

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