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West coast activist Phase 2 targets Jupiter Fund Management

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West coast activist hedge fund Phase 2 Partners is targeting UK-listed asset manager Jupiter Fund Management, according to a report by The Times. Financial Conduct Authority disclosure data shows the San Francisco-based hedge fund is now a leading short-seller of Jupiter.

The US group has built a net short position of 0.59 per cent in shares of the London-listed asset manager.

Phase 2 is one of three hedge funds that have built short bets against Jupiter that are larger than the 0.5 per cent threshold required for investors to disclose their positions to the regulator.

Phase 2’s negative wager comes as Matthew Beesley, who became CEO of Jupiter in October, tries to revive its fortunes after a torrid period for the company.

The FTSE 250 group, founded 38 years ago by John Duffield, has come under pressure in recent years from the rise of cheaper index-tracking passive funds that pose stiff competition for active managers such as Jupiter. The underperformance of some Jupiter funds and the purchase of rival Merian, in 2020, which was poorly received by some of its shareholders, have exacerbated its woes, as the firm registered five consecutive years of negative outflows.

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