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‘Fund firms wising up to poaching boutiques’

Fidelity head of multi-man-ager business Simon Ellis believes that investment boutiques will find it increasingly difficult to poach top fund managers from the bigger companies because they are wising up and locking in their best talent.

Ellis says that although the boutique culture has been attractive to fund managers, big retail firms are waking up to the loss of important staff which means that boutiques will have to pay a big premium to attract high-profile names.

He says: “A number of the managers who subscribe to the culture have already moved while established firms have responded by offering some of those options that have attrac-ted the managers away such as equity stakes and the removal of corporate restraints.”

Ellis says high-profile def-ections such as Credit Suisse multi-managers Gary Potter and Robert Burdett to Thames River will become rarer.

But Resolution head of sales of marketing Jonathan Polin says boutiques will continue to attract managers. He says: “It is not always about who has the deepest pockets. Fund managers move for a myriad of reasons, be it the corporate environment or that, in some firms’ cases, asset management is a small part of the business, diminishing the role of the manager no matter how good a job they do.

“Add to that the over-capacity of asset managers in the UK and the number of businesses waiting to be consolidated and a boutique looks an attractive option.”

Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier says: “If someone does not like their working environment, they will go. Saying that, talent is always at a premium and there is only so many times that a boutique can get lucky.”

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