Whilst it might seem a long time ago now as we are in the midst of the wintery months Lloyd Harris, Rob James and I set foot into Premier Miton, to start our tenure in the Fixed Income team. The glorious summer that the UK had enjoyed set the tone for the glowing backdrop on the start of the next stages of our career.
Premier Miton had successful franchises in both multi asset and equities, and were looking for their third pillar to continue strengthening the business. Lloyd, who heads up the newly expanded team, had successfully managed the credit strategies at Merian Global Investors and was now tasked with replicating the three credit philosophies; the opportunity and timing was too good to pass up.
Lloyd previously had spent eight years at Merian, initially as a financials’ analyst before becoming the lead credit portfolio manager, with the Merian Corporate Bond Fund and Merian Monthly Income Bond Fund under his guidance before successfully launching the Merian Financials Contingent Capital Fund in Summer 2018. Before his departure he was successfully running funds totalling $1.2bn with a strong performance track record across all three strategies, making his weekly trek across from the welsh valleys more than worthwhile.
Financials experience has held Lloyd in great stead. Financials make up circa 40% of the credit indices, and as a result his expertise in the sector is critical to the performance of the credit funds. In addition, the recently launched Premier Miton Financials Capital Securities Fund invests in the most subordinated financial capital securities. These financials are commonly referred to as AT1 in banks and RT1 in insurance, or CoCos for short – a relatively new and an oft misunderstood asset class. This fund is co-managed with Rob James, a financial expert, having analysed the financial sector for three decades across both credit and equity markets. Rob has enormous experience in the sector and his ebullient nature together with his technical expertise makes him a popular speaker as he explains complex capital structures with consummate ease.
The team’s expertise in financials is rounded off by me (if I don’t say so myself). I joined with Lloyd, at what was Old Mutual in 2013, having previously spent the best part of a decade in the finance and treasury functions of Old Mutual plc, the anglo-african insurer. I have gone from selling insurance bonds to now analysing and buying them. Having such depth across both banks and insurance is a rarity in the buyside and an advantage given the nuanced characterisations of both sectors. I co-manage the Premier Corporate Bond Monthly Income Fund and the Premier Miton Strategic Monthly Income Bond Fund with Lloyd, and I am excessively tall.
The team benefits greatly from having retained the services of both Chun Lee and Hoy Wan from the previous fixed income team. Chun, was previously running the Premier Corporate Bond Monthly Income Fund, and has a broad experience in the credit market and offers valuable insights across a breadth of sectors. Hoy Wan, the lead on the Premier UK Money Market Fund, has huge operational depth and her fund management skills were recently rewarded with a nomination as one of the leading female fund managers in the City for her performance with the Premier UK Money Market Fund.
Recent joiner Cameron Geering, having previously been acting as an investment advisor for pension schemes, assessing fund managers, has now joined the team to flesh out the analytical capabilities across the corporate credit spectrum. In addition to his exuberance of youth and basketball skills, his financial modelling and programming skills give the team an additional dimension that we are keen to use to the full.
The corporate credit team further enhanced their depth by welcoming on-board Kishan Paun in mid December, having previously plied his trade as a credit analyst at the ESG house EdenTree. Kishan completes the team and will give the team experience across the European credit markets, as well as having a strong background in ESG – a direction of travel that the team are keen to embrace further. It will also give the team great depth in corporate credit with the ability to look at, with confidence, the full range of sectors.
Key to our investment process is the hire of Anish Shah, formerly Merian’s head of fixed income dealing. Anish, an amiable fellow, brings to our funds best in class execution capabilities and significant knowledge of the markets. With yields eye wateringly low, every basis point matters, and with our active focus, it ensures our strategies are ever more powerful.
In addition to Anish, the company have also beefed up the operations team, with a further hire from Merian’s best. Paul Smith, with a penchant for natty knitwear, joined to head up the investment operations team for fixed income in September – a significant hire, ensuring the smooth running at the back end of the portfolios allowing fund managers to concentrate on running the funds!
That is the team, a close knit group with the ability and willingness to continue the recent strong performance track record. Hopefully you will hear from all of them on the blog in the future, to give an insight into their thoughts on the topics du jour.