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Scottish Mortgage says joint manager of its portfolio is to move on

Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust PLC (LON:SMT) said one of its joint portfolio managers is to give up the role at the end of April.

The investment trust’s portfolio is managed by Baillie Gifford luminaries James Anderson and Tom Slater but now James Anderson is set to quit, leaving Slater in charge of SMT’s investments, with Lawrence Burns, another partner at Baillie Gifford, as his deputy.

READ: Using investment trusts to invest in Big Tech

Slater has worked at Baillie Gifford for over 20 years and been a manager on the trust for the last decade.

“James’s approach of identifying and holding transformational growth companies has helped drive economic progress and delivered exceptional returns for shareholders. He has also pioneered our investments in private companies, one of the trust’s most important strategic initiatives to date,” said Fiona McBain, the chair of Scottish Mortgage.

The news will still potentially cause some worry to the thousands of investors who have made fantastic returns from the trust over many years, said Ryan Hughes, the head of active portfolios at AJ Bell. 

“However, it’s important to remember how Baillie Gifford work with the investment process being firmly embedded in the team-based approach and experienced investor Tom Slater remaining at the helm,” Hughes said. “With Anderson not stepping back for over a year, this has been well planned with a clear handover process for Lawrence Burns to become deputy manager on the trust to support Slater.

“Anderson has helped build Scottish Mortgage into a phenomenal investment trust over many years with his clear, high conviction approach being a driving force behind its willingness to invest in early-stage companies and hold them while they become global winners with Amazon, Tesla and Alibaba all being great examples,” he added.

READ: Scottish Mortgage Trust sees the froth blown off its valuation

“For investors, while this announcement may be unsettling, the strength of the team-based approach, long handover period and continuity through Tom Slater shouldn’t result in major concerns.”

With Slater’s having been a manager on the trust for the last 10 years, Hughes said he “knows the portfolio inside out [and] I expect no change to the approach which should hopefully give investors reassurance that the investment process will remain intact”.

Shares in Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust were down 1.8% at 1,130p on Friday morning amid the current sell-off of technology stocks in the US.

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