As part of our coverage of International Women’s Day, we’re looking at the women fund managers whose strategies are highly rated by Morningstar.
Let’s look at the funds and managers in detail, and what our analysts say about them:
BMO Responsible UK Equity Fund – Morningstar Analyst Rating: Bronze
Catherine Stanley has been managing this fund since 2009 and also manages BMO’s Responsible UK Income Fund, which has a Morningstar Quantitative Rating of Bronze. In 2021 the fund gained 21.8%, according to Morningstar data, beating both the UK Flex-Cap Equity strategy and the FTSE All-Share. Over 10 years the fund has gained 8.9% on an annualized basis and the fund has a Morningstar Sustainability Rating of 4 globes out of 5.
Morningstar fund analyst Bhavik Parekh says: “Catherine Stanley has led this strategy since 2009, making her one of the longer-tenured managers in the UK sustainable equities space. She joined BMO in 2000 from Framlington, where she had also managed UK equities.
“Her prior experience mainly lies in smaller companies, which is beneficial here as many companies at the larger end of the UK market are excluded from the investable universe on sustainability ground.”
“The strategy has performed well since Stanley took over, outperforming the FTSE All Share Index in nine of the past 11 calendar years.”
JPM Asia Growth – Morningstar Analyst Rating: Bronze
Joanna Kwok has co-managed JPM Asia Growth with Mark Davids since 2015, and also manages Silver-rated JPM Asian Smaller Companies.
Morningstar analyst Samuel Lo has just updated his rating of the fund. He praises the team’s impressive stock-picking skills over the years and the fund’s excellent results and “robust and time-tested investment approach”.
“Mark Davids and Joanna Kwok took over the strategy via this UK vehicle in May 2015. They both have more than 20 years of investment experience and have consistently demonstrated impressive stock-picking skills over the years. Davids joined the firm in 1997 and has a solid track record on the JPM Asia Pacific Equity strategy, which he has managed since 2009. Kwok joined the firm in 2002 and has successfully managed both large-cap and small-cap mandates for more than a decade, including JPM Asian Smaller Companies, which she took over in 2013.”
Lo says that Kwok and Davids have a great synergy. “In particular, we are impressed by the passion for investing and detailed knowledge on stock holdings that Kwok has consistently demonstrated during our meetings,” he adds.
JPM US Equity Income – Morningstar Analyst Rating: Gold
Manager Clare Hart is a “talented lead manager”, according to our analysts, and has brought stable leadership to this strategy’s helm since 2004, although its UK-domiciled version launched in 2008. In November 2019 Andrew Brandon and David Silberman joined as co- managers.
Praising her long-term record, Morningstar’s Claire Butz and Fatima Khizou add that “Clare Hart’s quality-focused equity income approach is patient and consistent and has stood the test of time.”
In 2021 the fund gained 27%, according to Morningstar Direct data, and has delivered annualized returns over three years of nearly 13%. Top holdings include United Health Group, ConocoPhillips and Bank of America.
ASI UK Mid-Cap Equity – Morningstar Analyst Rating: Silver
We began covering this fund, which is run by Abby Glennie and Amanda Yeaman, in December 2021 and started with a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Silver. Morningstar fund analyst Samuel Meakin says:
“Abby Glennie was named lead manager of the fund in July 2018, when it was transferred to this team from the pan-European equity team at abrdn. She joined the smaller companies team at SLI (now abrdn) in 2015 after moving across from the group’s UK large-cap desk. Since then, she has worked closely with Harry Nimmo, the long-tenured manager of the [Gold-rated] UK Smaller Companies strategy and former team head, on the UK side of the desk specifically.
“In 2020, Glennie was named co-manager on UK Smaller Companies, reflecting her increasingly prominent role in its management in recent years. While this adds to her workload of her, the shared, teamwide investment process, as well as the high degree of commonality between the two respective investment universes and portfolios, suggests that it should n’t detract from her focus of her here. She has also managed the UK Opportunities fund since 2016, and that fund is now managed broadly in line with this strategy despite having had a slightly different investment mandate historically.
“Amanda Yeaman was named deputy manager on the mid-cap strategy in 2020. She has over 12 years’ investment experience, having previously worked at Investec. Glennie, Yeaman, and Nimmo all have input into portfolio construction decisions on the UK strategies they manage. The wider team, which also manages European and global small-cap strategies, is well resourced and has expanded sensibly over time.”
The fund gained nearly 20% last year and boasts three- and five-year annualized returns of nearly 7%, and 10-year annualized returns of just below 10%.
Rathbone UK Opportunities – Morningstar Quantitative Rating: Silver
Last year Morningstar rolled out its machine learning analysis MQR to include a much wider range of funds. Under this system, Rathbone UK Opportunities, run by Alexandra Jackson since 2014, receive a Silver Rating. We spoke to Jackson in autumn 2021 as part of our “13 Questions” series and she suggested the fund management could improve diversity by widening the net to people who wouldn’t usually consider a career in the City.
And here’s what our analysts say of the fund that has delivered three-year annualized returns of just over 7%.
“Rathbone UK Opportunities Fund is in good hands. This leads to the fund’s High People Pillar rating. Alexandra Jackson brings over 11 years of portfolio management experience to the table. They are not managing any other vehicles at the firm, devoting their attention to the fund at hand. Alexandra Jackson has delivered superior performance, outperforming both the category benchmark and average category peer for the past seven-year period.”