Somerset Capital Management (Somerset Capital), has appointed Mark Williams as co-manager of the Somerset Emerging Markets Dividend Growth Fund. Williams joins Somerset Capital from Liontrust Investment Partners, where he has been Head of Asia Pacific Equities and the Manager of the Liontrust Asia Income Fund since March 2012. He has over 27 years’ portfolio management experience and will take over management of the Dividend Growth Fund on 1 November 2020.
Kumar Pandit will co-manage the GBP486 million Somerset Emerging Markets Dividend Growth Fund with Mark Williams. Pandit is a Senior Partner at Somerset Capital having joined the investment team in January 2011. He has expertise across global emerging markets with a particular emphasis on EMEA, Frontier Markets and Latin America, to complement Mark’s Asian focused heritage. The core philosophy and process of the Somerset Emerging Markets Dividend Growth Fund will remain unchanged.
The appointment of Williams will also result in Somerset Capital taking over management of the GBP82 million Liontrust Asia Income Fund later this year, subject to approval. Williams will continue to run the Asia Income Fund with Carolyn Chan, who has been a co-manager since its launch in March 2012. Chan will join Somerset Capital with Shashank Savla in November 2020. The core philosophy and process of the Asia Income Fund will remain unchanged.
Both the Somerset Emerging Markets Dividend Growth Fund and Asia Income Funds will be further supported by Somerset’s 23-strong investment team of fund managers and analysts.
Williams says: “Our investment approach has been established over several decades of investing. We look for companies that exhibit a combination of quality, growth and income, which is a perfect fit with Somerset’s own investment philosophy.
“The current obsession with growth in internet stocks means we are able to find a number of undervalued high-quality businesses with attractive yields and good dividend growth prospects. More often than not, investors remember the merits of backing well-run businesses that compound value consistently over time.”
Dominic Johnson, CEO and Founding Partner of Somerset Capital Management, says: “It was extremely important that the team we hired were genuine dividend growth specialists and I am delighted that we have been able to attract someone of Mark Williams’ calibre and experience. Mark has done an excellent job at Liontrust over the last decade, despite a challenging market backdrop, and has a track record of outperformance going back more than 20 years. I am personally very excited for the prospects of both Funds that he will be running alongside co-managers Kumar Pandit and Carolyn Chan.
“Kumar was our very first external hire on the investment team back in 2011 and over the past decade he has proven himself to be an excellent stock-picker and one of the brightest talents in the industry. The Somerset Emerging Markets Dividend Growth Fund is a fantastic product and a former industry leader, and in Mark and Kumar we have two managers who complement each other very well.
“Taking over the Liontrust Asia Income Fund is an exciting proposition and has given us a great opportunity to offer our clients more regional exposure to emerging markets. We look forward to welcoming Carolyn and Shashank to the team later this year.”