Gartmore Group said it's weighing a sale of the U.K. money manager or merger with another firm as fund manager Roger Guy said he will retire and Chief Investment Officer Dominic Rossi moves to Fidelity.
The company hired Goldman Sachs Group to consider its options, Gartmore said in a Nov. 8 statement reported by Bloomberg.
Mr. Guy, who manages 17% of Gartmore's assets, will retire from “day-to-day” fund management at the end of the year. Mr. Rossi will join Fidelity International as global CIO-equities, Fidelity said Nov. 8.
In March, the firm suspended Guillaume Rambourg, who once ran 33% of Gartmore's assets with Mr. Guy, for breaking internal rules. Mr. Rambourg left Gartmore in July to focus on a Financial Services Authority investigation into his conduct. Gartmore spokeswoman Rebecca Grundy said the FSA investigation is continuing and does not involve Gartmore.
Also, Gervais Williams, who ran Gartmore's growth opportunities fund, stepped down in September.
Mr. Guy is Gartmore's largest individual investor with a 5.4% stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Mr. Rambourg holds 3.7% and Mr. Rossi owns 0.3%, the data show.
Gartmore customers pulled £2.8 billion ($4.5 billion) from the firm between Mr. Rambourg's suspension and Oct. 31. The company has been notified of a further 500 million of withdrawals.
Gartmore will implement a £10 million cost-cutting program and share-based employee incentive plan as part of a strategic review, it said in the statement.
No “material” discussions have taken place so far, CEO Jeffrey Meyer told reporters on a conference call Nov 8. Gartmore plans to issue new shares worth up to 15% of the company's existing equity to help retain existing employees, it said in the statement.
About 78% of the new share-based awards will go to the company's 20 portfolio managers, Meyer said. The cost savings will involve job cuts at Gartmore, which employs about 350 people, he said, declining to be specific.
The fund manager said assets under management grew 4% to £20.7 billion in the three months ended Sept. 30 as growth in investment markets offset customer withdrawals. However, assets were down 12% from March 31.