Activist Bramson makes way for fresh blood in F&C shake-up

 
Michael Bow
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ACTIVIST shareholder Edward Bramson yesterday announced he was stepping back from leading his current project F&C Asset Management after promoting a new chief executive to lead the firm.

Bramson, who took over F&C through his Sherborne Investments company with a 20 per cent stake, is moving from his role as executive chairman to become non-executive chairman in March.

The firm’s nomination committee, led by Bramson and backed by Kieran Poynter and Keith Bedell-Pearce, has backed F&C insider Richard Wilson to lead the firm from 1 January.

Bramson said Wilson had played a “critical role in the development and execution of the group’s strategy over the last year.”

Bramson won control of the asset manager 18 months ago in a boardroom coup which deposed chairman Nick MacAndrew and led to the departure of chief executive Alain Grisay.

Wilson will face a large in-tray when he fills Bramson’s shoes in January, with asset managers under increased pressures due to a pullback from investors investing.

PROFILE: NEW BOSS RICHARD WILSON

Richard Wilson, the man tasked with leading F&C Asset Management, is a relative unknown to people outside the 188-year-old firm. A global equity fund manager by trade, he joined F&C eight years and was most recently head of the firm’s sales business as well as being responsible for the investing side of the firm. Despite not having held a board level role – he has held a number of senior management roles at the firm – Wilson has a 24-year career in the industry and has served as a fund manager at some of biggest names in the industry. Prior to F&C he was head of international equities at Gartmore and managing director global equities at Deutsche Asset Management. He started his fund management career in 1988 at HSBC as an equity fund manager after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Exeter. Wilson was known to have played a key role in the two strategic reviews the firm held following the Sherborne takeover and is understood to have worked closely with Bramson on formulating plans for the firm’s future. The review’s focus on increasing its investment trusts and larger push for institutional business will be a good match for Wilson who has spent time both managing money and pushing the firm’s products to clients. Despite never having been introduced to analysts, Wilson will be watched with keen focus for how he steers the business next year. Markets were non-plussed about the appointment yesterday, with F&C shares flat.