Simon English: Rough for Brough, falling star at Schroders

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The Independent Online

Outlook Venerable investment house Schroders has results this morning, and a nice-looking profit of towards £400m is expected (this fund management game's a cinch. The stock market? Child's play.)

But what of sometime star fund expert Andy Brough? For many years, his stewardship of a small-cap and a mid-cap fund were beyond reproach. Brough was not quite Britain's Warren Buffett but he outperformed for long enough to persuade almost everyone (himself included) that he had a Midas touch.

Lately, things have been trickier. Indeed, his performance figures may be used as evidence that the City is populated by a bunch of people taking it in turns to be lucky. It is no longer his turn.

His Schroder 250 fund is ranked 245 out of 281 on Total Return over the last year when compared against other investment funds in the same sector. There have been bad bets on HMV, Luminar and Mouchel among others. One view from the Square Mile is that Brough is not taking this well, lashing out at banks pulling the plug on companies in which he has a stake, taking the view that the blame does not rest with him.

Time surely for Schroders chief Michael Dobson to ride to the rescue of his star. Anyone can have a bad run. His calibre cannot be doubted. Brough has the full and firm backing of everyone who matters. That's bound to be Dobson's line...