Fund manager loses twinkle

JUST under one year ago, Roger Guy and Guillaume Rambourg were crowned fund managers of the year at a swanky black tie gala at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel. Six months later their worlds fell apart. Rambourg quit, followed last month by Roger Guy. Three others have also handed in their notice.

An exodus of top talent on this scale would be a disaster for any firm, but it has proven near-fatal for Gartmore. Its shares have lost more than half their value since the firm listed in January, and investors will likely have to accept even less if they want to get out fast.

It is said that Guy quit because he was unhappy with the handling of an internal probe into Rambourg (who is still being investigated by the FSA). Whatever the reason, it serves as a cautionary tale to those fund management firms who rely on a handful of star managers.

In 2006, Rambourg and Guy were responsible for some 40 per cent of revenues, a figure that had fallen to 20 per cent by the time of Rambourg’s departure (thanks to a hiring spree in 2009). But that was still too high.

Star fund managers are not uncommon; Tony Nutt runs 18 per cent of Jupiter’s funds. But Nutt is still ensconced, while Gartmore – and its investors – will be left with little other than clichés about eggs and baskets.