The partnership of value veteran Jonathan Simon and growth expert Tim Parton, whose best ideas are blended in the portfolio of JPM America Equity, will come to an end in 2024. It is not known yet who will run this strategy after that. We are therefore assigning the strategy a People Pillar rating of Average.
In July 2022, Parton announced that he will retire in 2024, having spent his entire 36-year career at J.P. Morgan. He runs a range of growth-focused strategies, and teams up with Simon on several other funds, including this strategy, where he has been responsible for managing the growth sleeve since February 2017. With Parton’s planned step down in 2024; the fund will lose a seasoned growth investor who has built a strong track record on his strategies. While his departure is still some time away, lack of clarity around the succession plan for this comanaged fund create uncertainties for investors. Felise Agranoff, who has been with J.P. Morgan for 18 years and joined the growth team as a small- and mid-cap analyst in 2006 and became comanager for JPMorgan Mid-Cap Growth (2015) and JPMorgan Growth Advantage (2020), will take over from Parton on the aforementioned funds as lead manager. Larry Lee, a large-cap growth analyst, will be joining her as comanager for JPMorgan Growth Advantage, while small- and mid-cap growth analyst Daniel Bloomgarden joins her as comanager on JPMorgan Mid-Cap Growth. JPMorgan Growth Advantage’s portfolio has historically been the source of ideas for Parton’s growth sleeve, but it is yet unclear how the growth sleeve will be managed and who will manage it from 2024 onwards. J.P. Morgan aims to pick Parton’s successor before the end of 2022. Another factor to consider here is that the strategy is run as a partnership with Simon, who has managed the value sleeve since August 2011. Hence, Simon has a say in who will succeed Parton when he steps away. While Simon himself has not communicated a concrete plan to retire at this stage, he has reached an advanced stage of his career having spent 42 years at the firm. Despite the uncertainties at the portfolio manager level, we draw some comfort from the firm’s extensive and seasoned analyst teams who are instrumental for the portfolio managers. The core/value team boasts 28 sector analysts with on average 19 years of industry experience, while the growth team consisting of five large-cap analysts and 11 mid- and small-cap analysts has 15 years of investment experience on average.