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James Ring resigns as manager

Monday, April 17th 2006, 9:49PM
Well-known New Zealand fund manager James Ring has resigned as the lead portfolio manager of four of Challenger's small- and micro-cap equity funds.

Consequently Standard & Poor's has downgraded four Challenger equity funds.

"We view James Ring's departure as significant," S&P fund analyst Ken Ostergaard says. "In our November sector review of Australian small-cap and micro-cap managers we emphasised the importance of managers' experience with regard to determining ratings outcomes, and we drew particular attention to Ring as one of the industry's most experienced individuals, and one held in high regard by S&P".

The downgrades follow meetings S&P held with Challenger last week, including meetings with Ring, his successor, Michael Courtney, and other members of Challenger's Australian equities teams. Three small-cap funds have been downgraded to three stars from four stars, and the micro-cap fund to two stars from three stars.

Ring has around 20 years of investment experience in Australian, New Zealand and international equities including time at Southpac and with Coronet Asset Management - now owned by Fisher Funds.

"Ring practiced a disciplined long-term investment philosophy with a focus on real returns, which we hold in high regard. His departure will represent a significant loss to Challenger," Ostergaard said.

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