GAM chief steps down

DeparturesSwiss fund house GAM has announced the immediate departure of its chief executive Alexander Friedman. He will be replaced by board director David Jacob until a permanent replacement is found.

Friedman’s resignation comes at a turbulent time for Zurich-based GAM. In July it was forced to suspend its star manager Tim Haywood after it emerged that he had breached a number of internal policies regarding record-keeping and risk management.

Haywood had managed more than $7 billion (€6.1 billion) of assets across a range of absolute return funds and, following a stream of redemptions, GAM decided to liquidate those funds and return money to investors.

The fund manager’s share price has subsequently plummeted by two-thirds so far this year to a value of CHF966 million (€842.87).

“The group is facing some important decisions as we seek to position the business for future growth,” said GAM chairman Hugh Scott-Barrett. “Alex and the board of directors jointly agreed that new leadership will better enable us to take the action necessary to support profitability and drive forward the group's strategy.”

The news comes just two days after it emerged that GAM turned down an offer from Schroders to buy its quantitative hedge fund business Cantab Capital Partners.

According to a report in the Financial Times, the proposal was rejected because GAM deemed that selling the Cantab business would make it more difficult to sell the whole company.

Based in Cambridge, Cantab was founded by former Goldman Sachs investment manager Erich Schaikjer in 2006 and was acquired by GAM in June 2016 for $217 million (€190 million) subsequently becoming the centrepiece of GAM’s systematic fund range.

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