LONDON - The U.K.'s Association for Multi Manager Investment is being restructured after two of its founding members quit following disagreements about the association's future.
SEI Investments and Frank Russell Co. Ltd., both of London, left the association earlier this year, said AMMI Chairman Tony Earnshaw. He would not say why the firms had left.
Joe Ujobai, managing director SEI Investments (Europe) Ltd., London said the association was too broad to achieve what his firm was expecting from it. "In Europe there are a lot of different implementations of manager of managers. To lump us all in the same category was not really beneficial," he said.
Jon Baillie, managing director, institutional investor services for Frank Russell Co., London, said the firm left the association as it did not meet its needs and had been diluted by the broad range of interests it represented. Firm executives also could see no obvious benefit from formalizing the association and creating a tighter affiliation between the members, he added.
The AMMI was set up in March 2000 to raise the profile of the manager-of-managers and lobby on the industry's behalf. The firms that helped found it include Northern Trust Global Advisors Ltd., of which Mr. Earnshaw is managing director of multimanager products; Global Asset Management Ltd., PSG Escher Investments (PTY) Ltd., and Stamford Associates Ltd., all of London.
Mr. Earnshaw said these firms were working on formalizing the association, giving it a constitution, charging a nominal membership fee and creating separate membership structures for institutional and retail money managers.
To date, the AMMI had been a fairly broad church and had attracted interest from retail money managers. Accommodating the different interests of institutional and retail money managers had been difficult.
There is even a chance the association may split into two - one each for retail and institutional members, Mr. Earnshaw acknowledged.
"The talk shop structure was adequate for the initial stages, but one can't claim membership of an association if there is nothing to own in what the association is saying," said Mr. Earnshaw.
Terminology also has been a source of friction. The terms manager of managers and multimanager tend to be used interchangeably in the United Kingdom to describe the approach in which a firm such as SEI or Northern Trust operates segregated accounts, and hires and monitors the money managers appointed to manage different parts of the portfolio. The association was set up to represent firms using this approach rather than those offering a fund of funds or U.S.-style multimanager arrangement, said Mr. Earnshaw.
The association also is considering whether to broaden the organization to give it a more pan-European focus.