Japan’s Nikko Asset Management has hired William Low, former director of global equities at Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP), to head up a new global equities team.

Low, who left SWIP in April following its acquisition by Aberdeen Asset Management, will be joined by six of his former colleagues, following the launch of an Edinburgh office for the $158bn (€114.8bn) Nikko AM.

Stressing his team’s active approach to stock selection, Low said the group was the “antithesis of index-huggers”.

He questioned the “blind faith” many investors placed in index providers to allocate capital for them, citing Morgan Stanley, Standard & Poor’s and FTSE, but argued that his team would “do a much better job of picking companies around the world”.

Low joined SWIP in 2011 from BlackRock, first working as head of global equities and from 2012 onwards as director of global equities.

He spent 15 years at BlackRock and has also worked at Dunedin Fund Managers.

Alongside Low, Greig Bryson, Stephen Corr, Iain Fulton, James Kinghorn and Johnny Russell join Nikko AM – each with the title of investment director, with expertise on a specific sector.

Yu-Ming Wang, deputy president and global head of investment, noted that many of the team had been working together since Low’s time at BlackRock.

He said Nikko was active “in pursuit of high-alpha strategies, and with efficient passive offerings on our product”.

“We will leave the middle to someone else because that middle can be easily replaced with cheap smart-beta options,” he added. 

Low’s team will be receiving funding immediately, taking over the management of some of Nikko’s existing global equity mandates.