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Close threatens to quit Murray VCTs as row continues with rebel shareholder

Close Venture Management says it will resign as manager of the three Murray VCTs if campaigner Charles Clark wins his campaign to remove the boards and appoint his chosen directors.

Both Close and Clark have written to shareholders in the venture capital trusts ahead of their September EGMs, where voting will take place on the opposing proposals.

The boards sacked Aberdeen Asset Management as manager of the VCTs and appointed Close, which aims to merge the three portfolios subject to shareholder approval.

Close managing director Patrick Reeve says if Clark’s boards are appointed, it will give notice on its contracts at the earliest possible opp-ortunity – next April – and then see out its 12-month notice period.

Clark believes his chosen directors will provide an injection of fresh ideas into the VCTs and ensure good governance, despite him publicly professing his admiration for Close.

Reeve says Clark is not even a VCT shareholder but acting for a now deceased client and his campaign is distracting Close from repositioning the poorly performing funds.

Reeve says: “We propose to merge all three trusts and try to close the substantial discounts. This campaign is disturbing our job, though, and we will hand in our not- ice if Clark wins this shareholder vote.”

Clark says: “The new team will bring us much needed expertise and a strong, visible and accountable approach to the stewardship of these VCTs in the future.”

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