Dire markets hit Panmure

David Hellier
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TIM Linacre yesterday announced he would be standing down as chief executive of Panmure Gordon, one of the City’s oldest stockbrokers, following a profits warning.

Linacre’s decision follows a period of 18 months during which he has been discussing succession planning with the company’s board and its 44 per cent Qatari shareholder.

The broker said yesterday that recent severe market turmoil has caused firms to defer a number of sizeable investment banking transactions from the fourth quarter of 2011 into 2012 in both the UK and the US. Panmure says it will now report a loss for the second half of the year.

The group said it would also review the appropriate carrying value of intangible assets held on the balance sheet. It added that costs might have to be reduced further.

The headcount in the company’s US subsidiary ThinkEquity has already been reduced from 150 in 2007 to 110.

Panmure said that it had won 17 new clients during the year but, like all small brokers in the City, it is having trouble maintaining its commission income in desperately quiet markets.

Linacre has agreed to remain as chief executive until a replacement has been found and he will then revert back to dealing full-time with clients, the job he most craves.

Panmure Gordon’s problems come on the back of consolidation in a sector that has seen Altium close its securities business, Evolution sell itself to Investec (with many of its employees now working out their notice), and numerous other firms such as Arden and Finncap making headcount reductions.

Shares fell by 17 per cent to 11.2p on the back of the profits warning.