Ratings on four Vanguard international equities funds have remained unchanged following the recent departure of portfolio manager Mark Hildebrandt, Standard & Poor's said yesterday.
Vanguard's International Shares Index, International Shares Index Hdgd, International Small Companies and Int Small Companies Index Hdgd funds are all unaffected by the move thanks to a concerted effort to cross-train staff across strategies, S&P said.
Hildebrandt has worked at Vanguard since 2008 and played an important role in the day-to-day management of the funds, S&P said.
He took primary responsibility for the four strategies in March from David Kirby who moved to London, S&P said.
Angus McLeod has now taken the reins of the two large-cap strategies while Jon Burne has assumed management of the small-cap strategies, S&P said.
Simone Gavin, associate in fund services for S&P said the funds all retained their four-star rating, the second highest accorded by the research house.
"Their objective is to consistently meet their index objectives and they have a long track record of doing that," she said. "We have confidence in their team's ability to continue."
Gavin said because the funds were index strategies, they were more process driven, and having the right systems in place meant they were less reliant on any one key person.
"With each member of the team at Vanguard cross-trained on a range of strategies, reliance on any particular person is minimised. This is the reason we are comfortable with the current four star ratings."
S&P also noted that Alla Kolganova, head of equities, would return from parental leave in early July.
It is often said by equity managers with a mandate to scour the entire globe for investment ideas that getting the geographic allocation right in any given year is the most important driver of returns.
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