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Fund manager insights: The art of selecting excellent fund managers

Simon Evan-Cook
Simon Evan-Cook

Fund Manager

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What makes a good fund? What makes a good fund manager? What can derail a fund?  

Simon Evan-Cook, manager of the VT Downing Fox Funds, provides insights into these questions and more, alongside Lee Cleasby from the Fund Your Retirement podcast️.  

Simon delves into the intricacies of crafting successful investment strategies, emphasising the importance of patience, extensive research, and understanding market cycles. Simon's approach focuses on long-term growth and value investing, advocating for a disciplined methodology that avoids the pitfalls of short-term market reactions. 

Key takeaways: 

Patience is crucial: long-term success often requires resisting the urge to react to short-term market volatility. 

In-depth research: thorough analysis and understanding of market fundamentals are essential. 

Market cycles: recognising and navigating different phases of market cycles can significantly enhance investment outcomes. 

Listen to the podcast episode below:


  • 01:40 Simon's journey into investing
  • 02:50 Discovering the passion for fund management
  • 07:06 Simon's investment strategy
  • 12:37 Active vs. Passive fund management
  • 20:16 Screening for fund managers
  • 20:22 Identifying extreme funds
  • 22:54 The ‘Hero's Journey’
  • 25:04 Holding periods and fund manager longevity
  • 26:26 Challenges of managing large funds
  • 00:05 Understanding fund dynamics
  • 31:21 Final thoughts on Active vs Passive investing
  • 36:35 Book recommendations and closing remarks

VT Downing Fox Funds 

Downing launched the VT Downing Fox Funds range in June of 2023. The multi-asset range, designed specifically for UK financial advisers, consists of four funds of funds that differ by the amount they hold in equities: 40%, 60%, 80% and 100%. The Fox range is managed by Simon Evan-Cook and Alex Paget

Learn more about the Fund 

Further links and resources:  

Risk warnings: Please note that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Capital is at risk. Investments and the income derived from them can fall as well as rise and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Investments in our funds should be held for the long-term and are higher risk compared to investments solely in larger, more established companies. Opinions expressed represent the views of the fund manager at the time of publication, are subject to change, and should not be interpreted as investment advice.  

Important notice: This content is for information only and does not form part of a direct offer or invitation to purchase, subscribe for or dispose of securities and no reliance should be placed on it. This content contains information that is believed to be accurate at the time of publication but is subject to change without notice. Whilst care has been taken in compiling this content, no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made by Downing LLP as to its accuracy or completeness, including for external sources (which may have been used) which have not been verified. Downing does not offer investment or tax advice or make recommendations regarding investments. Downing LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm Reference No. 545025).


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