Former Syz duo join Downing to launch new European income fund

11 November 2020

Downing Fund Managers has appointed Mike Clements and Pras Jeyanandhan to run a new European income fund – the VT Downing European Unconstrained Income Fund. The fund, launched in November, will invest in European all-caps with a focus on contrarian investment opportunities and ‘off the radar’ ideas. The relatively concentrated portfolio of 30 - 40 holdings[1] will target a yield of at least the market rate, with distributions made quarterly. The annual management fee will be 0.75% p.a. for A share class.

Mike was formerly Head of European Equities and Pras was a portfolio manager at Swiss-based Syz Asset Management, where the pair have worked together for the last five years managing the Syz Oyster European mandates.

Judith MacKenzie, Partner and Head of Downing Fund Managers comments:

“We are delighted to welcome Mike and Pras to the Downing team as we continue to develop our boutique strategy. Following the appointment of Rosemary Banyard to manage the VT Downing Unique Opportunities Fund, and Anthony Eaton to manage the VT Downing Global Investors Fund back in March, the addition of two high calibre individuals to manage a European mandate is a real triumph for Downing. Culturally it is an excellent fit and Mike and Pras’ process and style has much in common with our overall approach of running concentrated, high conviction portfolios that aim to generate attractive returns over the long-term. This differentiated European mandate will complement our existing strategies as we expand our suite of funds.

Mike Clements comments:

“Both Pras and I are excited to be joining Downing Fund Managers at this time. Now more than ever we are seeing significant investor demand for consistent sources of income. Structural market changes such as MiFID II and indexation are pushing money flows towards large caps and making it increasingly difficult for active managers to generate alpha. In our view, portfolios are generally becoming less rather than more differentiated. We are long term, bottom-up stock pickers, driven by comprehensive research. While many European income funds focus on more traditional high-yielding sectors, our investment style means that we tend to have different alpha sources to our peers, which leads to a differentiated portfolio that can deliver consistent yield plus clear diversification benefits.”

Pras Jeyanandhan comments:

“We aim to generate alpha in two ways – both by buying good quality, well-known companies that are temporarily out of favour with the market, and by buying those ‘under the radar’ stocks that are under researched or have fallen out of our peers investable universe. This is a very exciting opportunity and we look forward to taking the proposition out to the wider market.”

Mike has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry and over 12 years’ experience managing European equity portfolios. His investment career began in 1999 as a European equity analyst at UBS Asset Management. In 2008, he moved to Franklin Templeton Investments where he managed the €3 billion Franklin European Growth Fund and related mandates. Between 2014 to 2020, he was Head of European Equities at Syz Asset Management, managing a range of Pan European and Europe ex. UK funds, including the Oyster Continental European Income Fund.

Pras has over 11 years’ investment experience. He began his career in 2005 with KPMG, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant (ACA), before moving to HSBC as a strategy analyst. In 2011, Pras joined Berenberg Bank as an equity analyst, leading coverage on the Financials sector before joining Mike Clements at Syz Asset Management in 2015 as an investment analyst and then portfolio manager. From January 2019, Pras co-managed the Oyster European Opportunities Fund alongside Mike as well as providing support across the other portfolios.


For information on how to invest click here. The VT Downing European Unconstrained Income Fund will be available in the coming weeks on various platforms and wraps.


[1] Please note, this is not a requirement or restriction of the fund.

Capital is at risk. The value of any investment and income derived from it can fall as well as rise and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Target returns are not guaranteed. Any personal opinions expressed are subject to change and should not be interpreted as advice or a recommendation. Please refer to the latest Full Prospectus and KIID before investing; your attention is drawn to the risk, fees and taxation factors contained therein.