Charlie Thomas, the long-standing manager of the first authorised dedicated green fund (unit trust) in the UK, the Jupiter Ecology fund, is leaving Jupiter Asset Management after 20 years to take the top investment job at EdenTree, the ethical funds firm.
Thomas, Head of Strategy, Environment & Sustainability at Jupiter, is joining EdenTree Investment Management, the £3bn (€3.4bn) fund manager formerly known as Ecclesiastical IM, as Chief Investment Officer, taking over from interim CIO Sue Round, the firm’s deputy chair who stepped in to take over from long-term CIO, Robin Hepworth.
Jupiter, which last year acquired Merian Global Investors (the former Old Mutual Global Investors) in a £370m deal, is beefing up its overall responsible investment profile, naming Abbie Llewellyn-Waters as its new Head of Sustainable Investing and Rhys Petheram as Head of Environmental Solutions.
Llewellyn-Waters has managed the Jupiter Global Sustainable Equities fund since it launched in April 2018.
Petheram has co-managed the mixed-asset Jupiter Global Ecology Diversified fund since launch in 2016.
Jon Wallace, previously Analyst for Environment & Sustainability, takes over from Thomas at the helm of the Jupiter Ecology fund, and will also have responsibility for the Jupiter Responsible Income fund and the equity segment of the Jupiter Global Ecology Diversified and management of the Jupiter Green Investment Trust.
Andrew Formica, Jupiter CEO said the moves: “reinforce our commitment to this strategically important client proposition” which, he said, the firm sees as a “cornerstone” of its growth plans.
The pioneering Jupiter Ecology Fund which has £691m (€780m) in assets, was launched in 1988 by Tessa Tennant, who went on to become a leading figure in sustainable finance. Charlie Thomas took over as manager in 2003.
Thomas’s departure follows a long period of underperformance for the flagship fund. For the year ended 31 March 2020, the total return on units was -5.3% compared to returns of 3.4% for the FTSE ET100 Index and -6.0% for the IA Global Equity Income Sectors, its peer group.
Over five years the total return on units was 21.3% compared to returns of 41.2% for the FTSE ET100 Index and 30.0% for its peer group.