Is Credit Suisse still a safe bet?



Fund manager Credit Suisse is facing the biggest shake-up in its history. Two of its major fund managers have resigned within weeks of each other and advisers are rapidly changing their views as to whether they can put their clients into Credit Suisse's funds.

Two weeks ago, the UK equity income fund manager Dominic Wallington upped sticks. Now he has been followed by James Abate, manager of the Transatlantic fund - Credit Suisse's American fund. The US-based Mr Abate is off to run a Nasdaq quoted company and is to be replaced by his deputy, Susan Everly.

Credit Suisse director Ian Chimes says: 'We lost one fund manager in six years before these two. But the fact that two have gone is just a coincidence.'

However, financial advisers are concerned by Mr Abate's move. The Transatlantic has been Credit Suisse's most successful fund of recent years - it's been in the top quartile of American funds.

Jason Hollands, of independent financial adviser Best Investment, says he regards the departure of James Abate as 'a big loss for Credit Suisse'.

He adds: 'We are therefore suspending our recommendation of this fund, pending a meeting with

the new manager.'

Mark Dampier, of IFA Hargreaves Lansdown, is also disappointed by Mr Abate's departure.

'This fund accounts for about 80% of the money going into Credit Suisse at the moment,' he says. He adds that he likes the Transatlantic fund because - unusually - it's not stuffed full of technology companies.

Warren Perry, of Whitechurch Securities, agrees: 'James was a fantastic fund manager and this really was a core US holding fund for investors. We don't know what the new fund manager, Susan Everly, is going to be like.

'Sensible investors will stay put for three to six months and then decide what to do.'

But the change at Credit Suisse's UK Equity Income funds could be good news. Bill Mott, head of UK equities at Credit Suisse, is taking over the Monthly Income Portfolio and Income funds.

He ran the Income fund between 1986 and 1996 when it did extremely well. His return to front line fund management is being welcomed by advisers.

'Bill's a good, oldfashioned value-based investor,' says Warren Perry. 'I think his return could be a good reason to buy this fund.'

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Category: Credit

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