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Mackenzie's Javasky retiring


Jerry Javasky, an award-winning manager who oversees Mackenzie Financial Corp.'s $8-billion Ivy fund family, will retire at the end of March.

Paul Musson, who has been part of the Ivy management team since 2000, will take over from the 56-year-old media-shy manager next month.

Mackenzie expects to negotiate an agreement with Mr. Javasky to be an outside adviser for "an indefinite period," said David Feather, president of Mackenzie's fund arm.

Mr. Javasky gave his notice to leave within the "last couple of weeks," Mr. Feather said in an interview. "He is not leaving for health reasons ... Family is one thing, but there are other things he has an interest in."

Even though Mr. Javasky's name is on all Ivy funds, he started a succession process a few years ago by putting various managers on the funds, Mr. Feather said.

Mr. Javasky, however, has been more closely identified as manager of Mackenzie Ivy Canadian. The fund, once a darling among financial advisers, has struggled in recent years because it did not own hot commodity stocks. The fund has $2.1-billion in assets - down from $5.5-billion in 1999.

During the recent bear market, the conservatively managed fund has outperformed its peers. It lost 16 per cent in 2008 versus a 33-per-cent loss for the S&P/TSX composite index, including reinvested dividends. Over 10 years, however, the fund posted an average annual return of 2.8 per cent, compared with 5.3 per cent for the index.

The $2.1-billion Mackenzie Ivy Foreign Equity Fund fared better in 2008, losing only 6.7 per cent in 2008. It has an average annual return of 2.9 per cent over 10 years.

Mr. Javasky joined Mackenzie in 1992, and was chosen fund manager of the year in 1998 and 2002 at the Canadian Investment Awards. His team includes Mr. Musson, Stephanie Griffiths, David Arpin, Abe Gottesman and Matt Moody.

Independent fund analyst Dan Hallett said Mr. Javasky's resignation during the registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) season is a bit of surprise. Mackenzie could face a "marketing challenge" given Mr. Javasky's profile among loyal advisers, he said.

Mr. Hallett said he has never recommended Mackenzie Ivy Canadian because of what he perceived as "inconsistencies" between the fund's value approach and stock picks like Nortel Networks Corp. in 1999.

But independent analyst Peter Loach does not believe that Mr. Javasky's departure will be a problem. "There is no doubt he has created a team which subscribes to the Ivy philosophy," he said. "It's not like he is going to a competitor."

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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