River and Mercantile fund head ousted following investigation

A portfolio manager at River and Mercantile Asset Management ​has left the business after an internal investigation into a "professional conduct issue".

Philip Rodrigs, a 36-year-old German-born fund manager who graduated from Oxford University, was previously lead manager of the River and Mercantile (R&M) UK Equity Smaller Companies Fund, the R&M UK Dynamic Equity Fund, and the R&M UK Micro Cap Investment Company.

The asset management firm said the investigation was unrelated to a probe by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) into allegations that R&M, along with three other firms, had broken competition law by illegally sharing information.

Read more: City watchdog accuses four asset managers with a total of more than £121bn under management of breaking competition law

It declined to comment on whether the issue would be investigated by any external body, such as the police or the FCA.

R&M said the issues was unrelated to Rodrigs' portfolio manager responsibilities and has not impacted the price or value of any fund. "No client or investor has been negatively affected in connection with this matter," the firm said in a statement.

James Barham, R&M's chief executive, said it was "disappointing to have to take this course of action" but that swift action was necessary.

R&M UK Equity Smaller Companies fund will now be managed by Dan Hanbury, who ran the fund before Rodrigs was appointed in 2014. The multi-cap R&M UK Dynamic Equity Fund will be managed by William Lough, while the R&M UK Micro Cap Investment Company will pass to its other co-head George Ensor.

Read more: Carney praises efforts to reduce misconduct in financial markets, but hints that some rules may be dropped post-Brexit

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