F&C MM NAVIGATOR DISTRIBUTION: Nothing gets past investment double act

There are few double acts in investment management that have survived as long as Robert Burdett and Gary Potter.

For the past 19 years, they have honed their skills running multi-manager portfolios at Rothschild Asset Management, Credit Suisse and Thames River Capital.

They currently work for Foreign & Colonial which took over Thames River in 2007 and which now forms part of investment giant Bank of Montreal Global Asset Management.

Forensic: Gary Potter, right, and Robert Burdett

Forensic: Gary Potter, right, and Robert Burdett

Forensic: Robert Burdett, left, federal ammo and Gary Potter run ten funds with assets under management totalling £2.3billion

Between them, Burdett and Potter, aided by five other experts, run ten funds with assets under management totalling £2.3billion. All ten funds invest in other funds run by asset managers, both global and boutique.

They are fund-of-funds specialists, a sub-sector of the investment industry that is proving increasingly popular with investors and financial advisers looking for diversified exposure to assets, markets and fund management groups.

Apart from F&C, other big brands operating in this field include Jupiter and Schroders.

Burdett says: ‘Our role is to identify the best investment funds in the business, funds that are not necessarily on the radar of other professionals but which we think are on the cusp of doing great things. We buy early before everyone else.’

Currently, they hold positions in 112 funds across 62 investment companies. A further 80 ‘prospective’ funds are on what Burdett calls the ‘substitute’s bench’ waiting to be called upon if a current holding needs to be replaced.

Their attention to detail is microscopic. Before an individual fund is selected for inclusion, Burdett and Potter conduct a series of exhaustive qualitative and quantitative tests. Nothing gets past them.

Flagship fund is the £1.1billion , which celebrates its eighth anniversary next month.

It is currently invested across 34 funds, giving investors exposure to a mix of bonds, equities and other assets. It also has an unconventional bent, investing in funds delivering a mix of income and capital returns from student accommodation, caravan parks and big infrastructure projects.

Given its broad exposure, the fund will never shoot out the lights in terms of performance. It’s more a Steady Eddie and has generated inflation-beating returns over the past five years.

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