Wealth of young talent: Up-and-coming managers are catching the eye of investment houses

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Investment houses are grooming the next generation of fund managers that they hope will deliver bumper double-digit returns over the next few years and help to restore the public's faith in the industry. Succession planning has always been seen as the key to success in a ferociously competitive environment, and this is growing in importance, with a number of current star managers now approaching their mid-fifties.

But the stock market turbulence over the past couple of years has also highlighted the potential dangers of over-promoting young managers who simply do not have the experience to cope in different market conditions.

That is why the potential stars of the future are now more likely to be in their thirties and either already running their own portfolios or waiting patiently to be given the reins of a flagship fund when a vacancy arises.

According to Darius McDermott, managing director of Chelsea Financial Services, the more bear markets you go through, the more you want older fund managers who have been through the good and bad times. "I am not saying that you cannot have young fund managers that do well, but you cannot replace experience," he says. "Some managers are thought of as top dogs but they would not know what to do in a negative market."

So who are these youngish bucks, and are they really capable of outperforming their more established rivals? We quizzed a string of leading financial advisers and industry observers to discover who they tip for the top.

Charlie Awdry

Age: 30
Company: Gartmore
Fund: Gartmore China Opportunities Fund

Charlie joined Gartmore in September 2001 with responsibility for research into the materials sector, before becoming an investment manager and playing a supporting role on the Gartmore China Opportunities fund two years later. He subsequently spent six months working for Gartmore in Hong Kong focusing on opportunities in the Chinese market, and was appointed manager of the fund in June 2006.

Darius McDermott, managing director of Chelsea Financial Services, says Charlie has delivered decent returns. "China is a particular special situation, but he picked up the mantle from the previous manager and has just kept going. He had a difficult time in the negative markets but has since picked up strongly."

Ariel Bezalel

Age: 34
Company: Jupiter
Fund: Jupiter Strategic Bond Fund

Ariel arrived at Jupiter Asset Management 12 years ago as an assistant fund manager in the fixed interest team, becoming a fund manager two years later. As well as having run the Jupiter Strategic Bond fund since its launch in June 2008, he also looks after the fixed interest component of the Jupiter High Income fund and Jupiter Monthly Income fund.

Mark Dampier, head of research at Hargreaves Lansdown, says you don't normally know how good a manager is until a few years down the line, but Ariel Bezalel has caught his eye. "Each time I talk to him I am more impressed," he says. "He's quite young but his knowledge and understanding of the market is so good."

Alex Savvides

Age: 34
Company: JO Hambro
Fund: JOHCM UK Dynamic Fund

Alex Savvides has 13 years' industry experience and joined JOHCM in March 2003, where he runs the UK Dynamic fund and works alongside Mark Costar on the JOHCM UK Growth Fund. Prior to joining JOHCM, he spent seven years in sales, trading and research roles at various broking firms, focusing on UK companies.

Geoff Penrice, a financial adviser at Honister Partners, is impressed. "He is an excellent stock analyst, with a detailed knowledge of industry and stock price drivers," he says. "When combined with good portfolio construction this will lead to long-term outperformance."

Simon Haines

Age: 33
Company: Threadneedle
Fund: Threadneedle UK Mid 250 Fund

It has been 10 years since Simon Haines joined Threadneedle as a trainee UK fund manager, who achieved his goal in January 2005. As well as managing the Threadneedle UK Mid 250 Fund, the Threadneedle UK Accelerando Fund, the Threadneedle Pensions UK Equity High Alpha Fund, and a UK Equity High Alpha segregated mandate, he also has research responsibility for the Construction & Materials and General Financial sectors.

Andy Gadd, head of research at Lighthouse Group, has been watching Haines for a couple of years and points out that his long-term performance in the mid-cap sector has been impressive. "He takes a high conviction approach and now has a reasonable track record to analyse," he says. "I continue to feel that Haines is an excellent fund manager and this is backed up by the numbers."

Alister Hibbert

Age: 39
Company: BlackRock
Fund: BlackRock European Dynamic Fund

Alister Hibbert is a member of BlackRock's European Equity Style Diversified team and responsible for managing Continental European products. He joined the company in 2008 from Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP), where he was an Investment Director, responsible for managing European portfolios. Prior to joining SWIP in 2005, he was a European equity portfolio manager at Oeschle International.

Geoff Penrice at Honister Partners says Hibbert has demonstrated "an exceptional level of understanding" of both macro and stock price drivers, as well as boasting a very detailed knowledge of portfolio construction. "He is an impressive individual with lots of resources at his disposal," he adds. "His fund should be one to follow. "

Deryck Noble-Nesbitt

Age: 38
Company: Close Asset Management
Fund: Close Special Situations and Close Beacon Investment

Deryck graduated from Cambridge University in 1994 and is a chartered accountant, having spent over six years working at Deloitte & Touche in London and New York.

He has been a UK equity analyst since joining Govett Investments in February 2001 and is a CFA Charterholder. He joined Close in March 2005 and was appointed manager of Close Special Situations and Close Beacon Investment Fund on 1 August 2008.

Rebecca O'Keeffe, head of investment products at Interactive Investor, is monitoring his progress. "Considering that this investment is in UK smaller companies, rather than China or other Global Emerging Markets, it reinforces his stock-picking credentials," she says.

Rob Burnett

Age: 31
Company: Neptune
Position: Head of European Equities and investment director

Rob joined Neptune as an investment analyst in 2002 and became manager of Neptune European Opportunities, one of the company's flagship funds, three years later. He has since become investment director and head of European equities, and also manages the Neptune Max Alpha fund and the offshore Neptune European Growth.

Andy Gadd at Lighthouse Group is keen to highlight Rob's strong performance. "This can mainly be credited to a solid top-down assessment of both the economy and equity markets and a flexible investment approach by the manager which has produced strong returns across various market cycles."

Meanwhile, Mark Dampier at Hargreaves Lansdown agrees that Rob is doing well and points out that he is in a group surrounded by a lot of experienced people.

Youth or experience?

These relatively fresh-faced managers may have risen quickly through the ranks but should you be risking your money on them? How do you know if they truly have what it takes or whether they are more over-confident than competent?

After all, it's a thin dividing line. Back a future superstar early in their careers and you'll be able to sit back and watch your investment soar. Make the wrong call and your savings could be wiped out virtually overnight.

Geoff Penrice, a financial adviser with Bates Investment Services, says: "The positives are that they are often highly motivated, with high energy levels, and even more importantly, tend to have new ideas. However, they may not have the experience of certain market conditions."

However, there's a difference between being young and being inexperienced, points out Andy Gadd, head of research at Lighthouse Group. Just because they don't have any grey hairs doesn't mean they lack the requisite skills.

"Many up and coming fund manager stars of the future will have followed an established career path," he says. "They will have started out as part of a research department, then an assistant manager before ultimately becoming a fund manager."

The perfect young fund manager

* Experience as an analyst

* Very competitive

* The backing of a major fund management group

* A particular investment style

*No other commitments – so they can focus purely on delivering returns

* A hunger to learn

* A willingness to share ideas with more experienced colleagues

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

footballHe started just four months ago
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

    Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

    Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

    Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

    Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

    Day In a Page

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

    The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
    Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

    Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

    France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
    Sports Quiz of the Year

    Sports Quiz of the Year

    So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

    From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

    Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect