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Jupiter closes Russia-exposed emerging Europe fund

By Reuters

LONDON -British asset manager Jupiter has decided to close its Emerging European Opportunities Fund, it said on Tuesday, as the fund management sector contends with knock-on effects from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The fund was suspended in early March along with a number of other funds with exposure to Russian securities. A total of $6 billion in assets under management has been frozen in Russian or emerging market funds with Russia exposure, Morningstar data shows.

“The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has severely impacted trading conditions in the markets in which the fund primarily invests, negatively affecting our ability to value certain assets in the fund,” a Jupiter spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“We believe that the closure of the fund is in the best interests of its investors, allowing us to return a level of cash to investors earlier than we expect would otherwise be possible.”

Asset managers have said that sanctions, countermeasures by Russia and ethical considerations have made Russia uninvestable and many fund firms have marked Russian assets down to zero.

The fund suspensions shortly after the invasion, which Russia calls a “special military operation”, were aimed at preventing a disorderly scramble for the exits with some investors forced to sell out at rock-bottom prices.

The suspensions meant existing investors could not withdraw their money and new investors could not put money in, but Jupiter is one of the first managers to say it plans to close its suspended fund.

The Jupiter fund had 59 million euros ($62.11 million) in assets under management, according to Morningstar.

Jupiter also said last month it was putting forward formal proposals to shareholders to wind up the Jupiter Emerging & Frontier Income Trust, after highlighting a worsening international outlook.

There have been a number of high-profile fund closures for various reasons in recent years.

British veteran money manager Neil Woodford’s flagship fund closed in Oct 2019 after months of suspension.

British commercial property funds also froze after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June 2016 and again after COVID-19 lockdowns in March 2020. Some never reopened.

($1 = 0.9499 euros)