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The news that James Anderson, manager of the £16.5bn Scottish Mortgage investment trust, is stepping down in April next year after 21 years in charge, will cause a headache for many DIY investors.
The pioneering "growth" trust, which was an early investor in Tesla and Amazon, has made investors 1,530pc under Mr Anderson's leadership, almost six times the return from a global stock market tracker. It has deservedly become a regular feature in fund shop "most-bought" lists.
Tom Slater, joint manager of the trust for the past six years, will take charge of Scottish Mortgage when Mr Anderson steps down, with Lawrence Burns becoming his deputy.
So should investors stick with the new managers or start looking for an alternative place to invest their savings?
Iain Scouller, of stock broker Stifel, said that given Mr Anderson's 39-year career as an investor at Baillie Gifford, the Edinburgh fund group behind Scottish Mortgage, the announcement of his retirement from the firm was not unexpected and his succession would be smooth.
However, he argued that investors should take profits on Scottish Mortgage after its strong run of performance, returning 135pc in the past 12 months.
“This is to ensure that investors do not become too heavily weighted in Scottish Mortgage shares,” he said.
With the shares trading at close to their portfolio value, after briefly falling to a wider discount, he said it was the right time for investors to take some chips off table if the trust now occupied a large position in their portfolio.
However, if investors are comfortable with the size of their Scottish Mortgage position, they should stick with it, according to John Moore, of wealth manager Brewin Dolphin.
“Mr Anderson’s retirement has been planned for some time and Baillie Gifford is well prepared – co-manager Tom Slater has been a leading contributor to management and presentations over the last few years.
“Losing such a recognisable name could unnerve some investors, but Baillie Gifford’s, and Scottish Mortgage’s, long-term track record is excellent and some immediate uncertainty should not change views on either,” he said.
This view was share by Nick Wood, of wealth manager Quilter. He said investors should not panic given Mr Slater's years of involvement with the trust. Prior to his promotion to joint manager in 2015, Mr Slater served as deputy manager for five years.
“Baillie Gifford has a good track record of managing departures like this. We saw a similar transition in its Japan team, with the retirement of Sarah Whitley three years ago. This has not resulted in weaker performance so there is at least precedent to go off.
“Baillie Gifford has clearly been hugely successful across a number of regional products, and I would argue it is the process and philosophy behind the organisation which breeds success, although clearly Mr Anderson’s departure will be a loss of experience,” he said.