Legg Mason’s veteran Miller to leave his post

BILL Miller, the American stock-picker who posted some of the mutual fund industry’s worst results during the financial crisis after a 15-year-long winning streak, will step down from his flagship fund at Legg Mason in April, the firm said yesterday.

Sam Peters, 42, who was named co-manager with Miller last year will become the sole manager of the $2.8bn Value Trust fund and the Value Equity strategy.

Legg Mason of Baltimore had flagged Peters as Miller’s eventual successor, but at the time Miller, 61, said he had no plans to retire, leaving the timing of the transition in doubt.

The move begins the endgame for one of the mutual fund industry’s best-known stars, amid the intense market volatility of the last few years.

“The volatility of markets has made it hard to be a good stock picker year after year,” Rosenbluth said. “Risk isn’t being rewarded.”

For Legg Mason, the move marks another major casualty after suffering several years of outflows and investor pressure amid disappointing stock performance.

Legg Mason shares have been down 29 per cent for 2011 so far, compared with the Dow Jones index of asset managers, down 23 per cent.