Newton restructure sees Frikkee lose blockbuster fund

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Newton Investment Management’s Richard Wilmot is taking over the reins of the firm’s Newton Higher Income GBP IncNewton Higher Income GBP IncHigher Income fund leaving current manager Tineke Frikkee facing an uncertain future.

Frikkee is in discussions about her role at the company after being taken off the £2.25 billion (€2.8 billion) fund which she has managed since 2004.

The news comes as the firm announces a raft of fund mergers and following a significant shift by investors away from UK equities.  

Simon Pryke, CIO at Newton, said: 'We believe the UK equity team, under Richard’s leadership and working closely with our 17-strong global sector research analysts, will be well positioned to continue to successfully manage our UK equity portfolios going forward.'

Announcing the changes, Newton said it is consolidating its product offering in UK equities as investors shift away from these towards global stocks, fixed income and absolute return.

The firm merged the Newton Income, Newton Growth and Newton UK Equity funds into a single vehicle and redeployed resources to other areas of the firm to take account of this shift.

Under the last three years of Frikkee's rein, the Newton Higher Income fund has delivered 26% versus a 29.8% rise in the FTSE All Share TR index.

Newton acknowledged that the environment has been difficult for investing in higher yielding stocks of late, and in the UK the number of attractive higher yielding equities available to investors has shrunk.

In an attempt to mould the fund to this new landscape, Newton said it will look to reduce the fund’s yield over the next 18 months, with the aim of meeting at least a 10% premium per annum to the FTSE All Share yield over rolling three-year periods.

These changes should allow the dividend to grow over the long-term from this new level and provide an attractive total return to investors.

'We are confident that going forward the Newton Higher Income fund will achieve both a premium income and an attractive total return in the long run, in line with what we aim to achieve with the rest of our equity income funds,' Pryke added.