Square Mile Academy of Funds: Ratings Round-Up for September

  • Four funds receive new ratings and enter the Academy of Funds
  • Three funds’ ratings upgraded
  • Two funds retain their ratings
  • Two ratings removed


Analysts at Square Mile Investment Consulting and Research conducted 127 interviews with investment professionals from 34 asset management groups over the course of September 2021. Based on the intelligence gained at these meetings, the following actions have been taken.

New ratings 

UBAM Positive Impact Equity fund awarded Responsible Positive Prospect rating 

Square Mile’s team of analysts has awarded the UBAM Positive Impact Equity fund a Responsible Positive Prospect rating. They believe this to be a promising strategy managed by experienced managers with a strong focus on Responsible Investment. They follow a thematic investment approach designed to identify companies that address issues highlighted by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The portfolio invests in a concentrated number (35-45) of predominantly European stocks. The Responsible Positive Prospect rating reflects the analysts’ positive view on the fund but also acknowledges that the fund is currently refocusing its investable universe from a global opportunity set, to a pan European one. (Decision as at 28.09.21)

VT Downing European Unconstrained Income fund awarded Positive Prospect rating 

The VT Downing European Unconstrained Income fund has been introduced to the Square Mile Academy of Funds with a Positive Prospect rating. Launched in November 2020, its portfolio managers Mike Clements and Pras Jeyanandhan are long-term investors with a contrarian approach. They seek to buy a short list of companies that they believe are of a high quality but are out of favour or overlooked by other investors. They carry out extensive research with a strong focus on trying to understand potential challenges to business models over a five-year period. The fund will look very different to its peers and therefore offers diversification for long-term investors seeking a differentiated strategy which provides a complementary source of income and growth alongside their core strategies. The strategy should appeal to those looking for a total return, value focussed, concentrated European ex-UK vehicle. (Decision as at 28.09.21)

ES River and Mercantile European fund gains Positive Prospect rating 

Square Mile has awarded the ES River and Mercantile European fund a Positive Prospect rating and it enters the Academy of Funds. It was launched at the end of September 2020 and is managed by James Sym, who joined the firm in March of that year. Mr Sym was previously at Schroders where he managed over £2 billion of European equity assets, and with some 14 years’ experience, he has gained a wealth of knowledge following companies and markets in this region. The fund offers investors an attractive and differentiated strategy from many of its peers. Its manager combines a business cycle approach with bottom-up stock analysis and a willingness to take a different view from the consensus. The resulting all-cap portfolio of circa 30 to 50 stocks can invest across a range of sectors and European countries, as well as a host of different types of businesses. (Decision as at 28.09.21)

LF Montanaro Better World fund awarded Responsible A rating 

Square Mile’s analysts have awarded the LF Montanaro Better World fund a Responsible A rating. They highlight the appeal of the investment philosophy at Montanaro Asset Management, which focuses on buying the best quality growth businesses in the small and mid-cap space. The Better World fund dives deeper, by not only looking for quality characteristics, but also focussing on businesses through a positive impact lens, as every holding must be aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Square Mile believes that this is an attractive small and mid-cap global equity fund for investors seeking to grow their financial wealth over time, whilst also investing with a positive impact on the environment and society. (Decision as at 23.09.21)

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