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Four insiders plot MBO at KBC Peel Hunt

NO LESS than four separate internal management teams are hard at work plotting a buy-out of stockbroking and corporate finance house KBC Peel Hunt after its Belgian banking owner KBC put the division up for sale last month, City A.M. can reveal.<br /><br />KBC Peel Hunt chief executive Simon Hayes was revealed last month to be mulling leading a management buy-out of the firm, which was put on the block as part of a drive by its parent KBC to sell off various foreign and fringe assets.<br /><br />But three separate MBO proposals are also being tabled by the firm&rsquo;s managing director Steven Fine, head of sales Alex Carter and Garry Levin, a managing director in the corporate finance team.<br /><br />KBC Peel Hunt is understood to have called a meeting for all its staff last week, where it attempted to calm nerves by revealing the level of bonuses to be paid out to employees in March next year.<br /><br />KBC Peel Hunt has been the subject of furious speculation in recent weeks as the City stockbroking community considers its options. Collins Stewart, Numis, Panmure Gordon and Evolution have all given careful thought to the idea of buying the firm, with the latter, led by chief executive Alex Snow, considered to be the most likely to launch a bid.<br /><br />Fine, who holds overall management responsibility for the firm, moved over to KBC Peel Hunt in 2006 from KBC Financial Products, where he was head of equities. Carter joined the firm in January, having worked for ten years at Cazenove, while Levin joined in March last year from Altium, where he was joint chief executive.<br /><br />Belgian bank KBC originally bought the distinguished Peel Hunt stockbroking name after it was floated on Aim in 2000.<br /><br />A KBC Peel Hunt spokesperson could not be reached for comment.