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Polar Capital founder sells down

The asset manager has 'soft-closed' its Global Technology fund

Polar Capital founder sells down

Polar Capital (POLR) co-founder Brian Ashford-Russell has made a raft of share disposals in the wake of the asset manager’s June full-year results, which revealed a 21 per cent drop in its pre-tax profits. The asset manager has also ‘soft-closed’ its Global Technology fund, citing the fund’s performance as well as a period of steady inflows.

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Polar Capital’s year-end figures were impacted by its performance fees, which slumped by nearly two-thirds to £8.8m over its most recent financial year, down from a record £24m level in 2019. Its Global Technology fund led the way on net inflows, taking in £316m. At the end of June and following the release of its results, the asset manager elected to temporarily close the fund as it edged towards £4.5bn in assets under management (AUM). The fund grew by 39.3 per cent in the 12 months to 29 May 2020, outperforming the Dow Jones Global Technology index which grew by 37 per cent. It had £4.2bn in AUM at this point.

The asset manager’s shares have staged a recovery since the spring sell-off and sit around three-quarters above their March nadir. Mr Ashford-Russell has capitalised and made four disposals between 24 June and 3 July, pocketing £2.7m altogether. A spokesperson said that the co-founder is “diversifying his portfolio and helping to improve Polar Capital's free float and liquidity”. 

Mr Ashford-Russell also sold £1.2m in shares last year. He retains a 4.7 per cent stake in the business and is among the asset manager’s top ten shareholders. 

Last month, broker Peel Hunt forecast full-year adjusted pre-tax profits and earnings per share of £37.9m and 27.8p respectively in 2021, rising to £48.1m and 36p in 2022.

CompanyDirector/PDMRDateNo. of sharesPrice (p)Aggregate value (£)Comments
Metro BankDaniel Frumkin (ceo)2 Jul 20500,000114570,509 
Oxford BiomedicaMartin Diggle2 Jul 203,00072921,870

Purchased by PCA

Crest NicholsonPeter Truscott (ceo)2 Jul 2090,000201.73181,559 
Renew HoldingsStephanie Hazell2 Jul 204,476446.819,999 
Contango HoldingsOliver Stansfield3 Jul 20309,3014.513,919

Residual interest of 2.5%

Maintel HoldingsJohn Booth3-6 Jul 208,77718115,886

Average weighted price

Crest NicholsonDuncan Cooper6 Jul 205,00021110,556

Purchased by PCA

CompanyDirector/PDMRDateNo. of sharesPrice (p)Aggregate value (£)Comments
VolexDaren Morris (cfo)2 Jul 20139,210148.2206,309 
Polar Capital HoldingsBrian Ashord-Russell3 Jul 20106,544498530,589

Residual interest of 4.7%

Gamma CommunicationsAndrew Stone3 Jul 2080,5511,4351,155,907

No longer holds shares in the company

Gamma CommunicationsAndrew Stone3 Jul 2050,0001,450725,000 
Maintel HoldingsAngus McCaffery3-6 Jul 20166,745181301,809 
Gamma CommunicationsAndrew Stone6 Jul 2038,0001,492.71567,231 
Gamma CommunicationsAndrew Stone7 Jul 2012,0001,487.50178,500