LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - Richard Buxton, the head of UK equities at Schroders and one of Britain's highest-profile fund managers, is leaving to join smaller rival Old Mutual Asset Managers, two sources close to the matter told Reuters.
Schroders said late on Thursday that Buxton would leave the company on June 14 after more than 11 years at the company.
It did not say why but the sources said he had accepted a position at Old Mutual, where he is expected to launch a new fund styled on his successful 3.5 billion-pound ($5.3 billion) Schroders UK Alpha Plus fund.
Errol Francis, co-manager of the Schroder UK Equity Fund, is also expected to join Old Mutual, which is due to celebrate the launch of its new Old Mutual Global Investors brand in London next week.
"Richard Buxton launched the Schroder UK Alpha Plus as the antithesis to the tracker fund and has proved good active managers can add significant value," Mark Dampier Head of Investment Research at Hargreaves Lansdown said.
"Old Mutual are trying to build their presence in the UK and the signing of this star manager is a significant statement of intent."
Buxton, who joined Schroders in 2001 to manage specialist UK equity portfolios, has been outspoken on several high-profile takeovers and issues such as the compensation of Xstrata executives as part of the merger with Glencore.
He began his investment career in 1985 at Brown Shipley Asset Management as a fixed-income and equity investment manager. He was UK equity manager at Baring Asset Management from 1990 following one year at GRE Asset Management.
Schroders' Global Head of Equities Peter Harrison said the company would announce succession plans for Buxton and Francis "in the near-future".