One of the 'best fund managers of his generation' to step down from Edinburgh's Baillie Gifford: reaction

An investment veteran at the heart of the growth of Baillie Gifford is to leave next year after four decades with the Edinburgh fund manager.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 12:56 pm

James Anderson will leave the firm and step down as joint manager of Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust at the end of April 2022.

Anderson joined Baillie Gifford in 1983 and became a partner four years later. He led Baillie Gifford’s European Equity Team and after this co-founded the Long Term Global Growth Strategy in 2003. He also chaired the International Growth Portfolio Construction Group from its inception in 2003, until two years ago.

Anderson has been manager of Scottish Mortgage since 2000 and, since 2015, joint manager with Tom Slater, who will continue as manager of the key fund.

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After nearly four decades at Baillie Gifford, James Anderson will leave the firm and step down as joint manager of Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust on 30 April 2022. Picture: Matt Marcus

Andrew Telfer, joint senior partner of Baillie Gifford, which was founded in 1908, said: “James has been central to the strategic leadership and growth of Baillie Gifford. He has encouraged us to be ambitious as a firm and has instilled a long term, global and index-agnostic approach to our investing.

“And, most importantly, James has achieved remarkable investment returns for our clients. We are giving our clients a year’s notice that he is leaving the firm. Our transition process is tried and tested over generations, and we have developed talented successors in each of James’s teams in recent years.”

The news of Anderson’s retirement triggered a flood reaction from the investment community.

John Moore, senior investment manager at Brewin Dolphin, said: “James Anderson has been among the best fund managers of his generation and has returned Scottish fund management and the investment trust industry to the spotlight for all the right reasons.

“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.

“On a wider angle, Baillie Gifford has also invested heavily in people and process, with the company’s Shanghai office a tangible example of this.

“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.”

Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at AJ Bell, said: “News that James Anderson is stepping down as joint portfolio manager on the Scottish Mortgage investment trust will potentially cause some worry to the thousands of investors who have made fantastic returns over many years.

“However, it’s important to remember how Baillie Gifford work with the investment process being firmly embedded in the team-based approach and experienced investor Tom Slater remaining at the helm. With Anderson not stepping back for over a year, this has been well planned with a clear handover process for Lawrence Burns to become deputy manager on the trust to support Slater.”

Jason Hollands of Tilney Investment Management Services noted: “During James Anderson’s long tenure at Scottish Mortgage, it really has become the poster-boy for the investment trust sector and in many ways has been instrumental in reinventing perceptions of investment trusts altogether.”

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