David Harding’s magic touch ranks Winton in Europe’s 20 most popular funds

In a year when European regulated funds were hit by €70bn of net redemptions and most of the region’s stock markets slumped by over 15%, one boutique stood out – Winton Capital Management.

The computer-driven hedge fund manager, which runs about $27.7bn in total and made about 5% last year, according to Trustnet, took €2.52bn into its regulated funds, according to Lipper statistics.

Admittedly, this did not rank the firm David Harding (pictured) established in 1997 first based on net sales – BlackRock took that honour, and €23bn of net new money.

But Winton did rank fourteenth, and was easily the highest ranked hedge fund.

Winton had just three funds on offer to the regulated European buyer universe, and they took in €4 of every €100 of net sales by Europe’s best 25 selling funds in 2011. Contrast that with groups that sold more last year – BlackRock with 407 products, BNY Mellon with 180 and the broad Allianz group with 622, for example.

Investors were well rewarded for their subscriptions to Winton’s three – among regulated managers with under €10bn, Winton’s funds added about €700m through performance.

This was far and away more than the managers ranked next highest on this measure, Stone Harbor and Neuberger Berman.

(Investors who put money in on day one when Winton Capital Management opened its doors back in October 1997 had made about 740% by the middle of last year.)

The offshore Winton Futures fund had $9.75bn total assets by the end of last year, making it the twenty-third largest fund available in Europe.

As with the offshore hedge fund industry, so too with onshore – sales are concentrated in relatively few hands. Winton and the thirteen net sellers above it in 2011 made about 84% of all Europe’s net sales last year.

In its offshore hedge fund business, Bloomberg reported in November, Winton took in over $1 of every $10 of net new money to the industry in the first 10 months of last year.

Not bad going for a fund group that began with under $2m, back in 1997.

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