Johannes Loefstrand and Seun Oyegunle are set to take on full management responsibilities for T. Rowe Price’s Frontier Markets Equity and Middle East and Africa Equity funds respectively, with incumbent manager Oliver Bell promoted to the newly created role of associate head of international equity.
From 1 August Loefstrand and Oyegunle will take on co-manager responsibilities for their respective funds before becoming portfolio managers from 1 January 2021. Both will be further supported by T. Rowe Prices' broader emerging markets and global equity fundamental research platforms.
Managed by Bell since 2014 and sitting in the IA Specialist sector, the $124m AUM T. Rowe Price Frontier Markets Equity fund is up 16.1% over five years, but is down 19.8% and 16.8% over one and three years respectively, according to FE fundinfo. The MSCI Frontier Markets index is up 23.9% over five years.
The offshore T. Rowe Price Middle East and Africa Equity fund has been managed by Bell since 2011, and is down 24.3%, 13.2% and 2.4% over one, three and five years respectively. The FO Equity - MENA sector is down 18.8% and 4.9% over one and three years respectively, but has returned 6.7% over five years.
Promising a "seamless transition" over the next six months, Bell said Loefstrand and Oyegunle's work as analysts across these markets have "made significant contributions to our team", and he is "confident both will be successful in taking on the new responsibilities".
He added: "When we launched Frontier Markets EquitysStrategy in 2014, the overlap with the existing Middle East & Africa Equity strategy was quite high.
"However, this has steadily decreased as some of the large gulf markets - Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and soon Kuwait - have moved up from the frontier universe into the MSCI Emerging Markets index.
"Now is the appropriate time to have dedicated portfolio managers for each strategy. The diverging composition of the frontier market universe in recent years warrants dedicated portfolio managers on the strategies."
T. Rowe Price said Bell's new role will "further [reinforce] leadership of the group's renowned fundamental research-based equity capability".
Bell added: "T. Rowe Price has made tremendous strides across its international business in recent years and I look forward to taking on a broader leadership role in further developing our international equity capability."