Interactive Investor

Smaller companies sector star manager announces retirement

5th September 2022 14:01

by Sam Benstead from interactive investor

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Abrdn’s Harry Nimmo is leaving the investment business following nearly four decades investing in small company stocks.

Smaller companies investment veteran Harry Nimmo is retiring at the end of 2022, following 37 years with Standard Life and abrdn.

Nimmo started Standard Life’s smaller companies investment team in 1993 and has managed the £430 million abrdn UK Smaller Companies Growth Trust since 2003.

Under his leadership, the trust has return 1,135%, nearly double the 617% return for the average UK small stocks investment trust and 304% for its benchmark index, Numis Smaller Companies plus AIM.

However, the trust has had a difficult past 10 years, falling behind its peer group with a 153% return compared with 196% for the average manager.

Nimmo has also managed the open-ended abrdn UK Smaller Companies since 2003, which has comfortably beaten its benchmark and peer group over that period.

Abby Glennie, who has worked alongside Nimmo in the smaller companies team since January 2016 and has been co-manager of the trust since November 2020, will become abrdn UK Smaller Companies Growth Trust’s lead manager. She will be supported by Amanda Yeaman, an investment director in the smaller companies team.

Liz Airey, Chair of abrdn UK Smaller Companies Growth Trust, said: "On behalf of the board and shareholders, I would like to thank Harry for all that he has done for the company in making it one of the pre-eminent investment trusts in the UK Smaller Companies sector and wish him a long and happy retirement.

“The mantle for managing the portfolio is being passed to Abby Glennie who has been co-manager of the portfolio since November 2020 and Amanda Yeaman who will be the deputy manager. The board has been working with Glennie now for several years and is pleased to have her and Yeaman responsible for the portfolio and is confident that the strong long-term performance generated under Harry's leadership will be continued over the coming years".

A number of other notable fund manager departures have been announced recently including Simon Knott and Hideo Shiozumi, who are retiring from their respective funds, Rights & Issues Investment Trust (LSE:RIII) and FTF Martin Currie Japan Equity. In addition, Hamish Baillie, co-manager of the Ruffer Investment Company (LSE:RICA), stepped down at the end of July to “pursue other opportunities”.

Prior to those announcements, Scottish Mortgage’s longstanding fund manager James Anderson retired at the end of April, news which was flagged more than a year in advance.

History shows that a change in a fund or trust’s lead manager can have a big impact, and that it can be for better or for worse, so investors should always take note. Check out our top tips on how to decide whether to hold or fold.

Commenting on Nimmo’s retirement, Darius McDermott, managing director of FundCalibre, said: "Nimmo has been one of the most successful UK smaller companies managers over the past three decades.

"However, this is a great example of good succession planning. Nimmo used to be head of the small cap team which has been restructured for some time and he has continued to work with the fund managers on a gradual transition. We believe Glennie is a very good fund manager in her own right."

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