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Star manager to drop mandate as Comgest ends Austrian tie-up

Star manager to drop mandate as Comgest ends Austrian tie-up

French boutique Comgest is set to cut ties with Austrian group Spängler IQAM Invest and relinquish control of two funds run on mandate by its European equity team.

It marks the end of the 20-year cooperation between the two firms, which had included funds run by Comgest’s Citywire AA-rated Franz Weis (pictured) and Céline Piquemal-Prade.

A Comgest spokesperson confirmed the fund managers would remain on their funds up until the notice period is served.

This will see Weis continue to run the €177 million Spängler IQAM Quality Equity Europe fund and Piquemal-Prade the €18.3 million Spängler IQAM Quality Equity Global fund up until the end of August this year.

The spokesperson declined to comment on the future of the funds but confirmed they would not be run by Comgest after the set date.

‘The main reason was a difference in strategy. Since the fusion between Bankhaus Spängler with IQAM, the group had focused on a quantitative-focused strategy that was not in line with Comgest’s ethos of bottom-up investing,’ the spokesperson said.

The two white-labelled funds, which are based on already existing funds at Comgest, namely Weis’ Comgest Growth Europe fund and Piquemal-Prade’s Comgest Monde, are available for sale in countries outside of Austria including Germany and France.

The sale of the funds outside of Austria was not in the initial agreement between Comgest and Spängler, the spokesperson said. This was viewed as creating competition with Comgest funds which were already being sold in these markets.

‘Due to the change in strategic direction of the two fund houses, we have decided to end the existing collaboration. We look back on a very good cooperation and thank Spängler IQAM for a very successful partnership with us,’ Jan-Peter Dolff, managing director at Comgest said in an official statement.

In the three years to the end of April 2014, the Spaengler IQAM Quality Equity Europe fund returned 48.16% (in EUR terms). Its Citywire-allocated benchmark, the FTSE World Europe TR EUR index, rose 30.11% in the same period.

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