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Mergers, movers and shakers

This week’s surprise announcement of the proposed merger of iimia MitonOptimal and Midas Capital will forge what the groups claim will be the biggest multi-asset offering in the market at £2.9bn.

The move sees iimia MitonOptimal acquire Midas for some £100.3m with co-founder of Midas Simon Edwards taking on the role of managing director of the merged business.

Interestingly the deal comes only six or so months after the merger of iimia and Miton Optimal, leaving questions of overlapping business lines open for debate.

Edwards says he and other shareholders will put some £20m into Midas – the retained brand name following the deal – but changes are likely off the back of the merger.

This week has been one of the busier on the investment front recently as the newsflow seems to be as constant as London buses, namely everything seems to be coming along at the same time.

As meanwhile, we also saw the end of Tim Guinness’s reign on the Investec global energy fund, as the veteran fund manager and chief executive of Guinness Asset Management stepped down after Investec’s decision to bring the £235m fund and its £800m offshore version in house.

Investec has appointed two sale-side analyst from Goldman Sachs in the shape of Mark Lacey and Jonathan Waghorn and made them co-portfolio managers of the fund. They join the growing commodity team headed by Bradley George.

Investec has always stated its intention to bring long-term investments such as the global energy fund in-house when it had the capability but one area the group still has tackle is the fact it is sacrificing a star name to make the move. Though both analysts are held in high regard, the fact is that advisers do not know who these guys are and they will have to lift their reputations and get out their and meet and greet the IFA community.

And finally, industry veteran Peter Hargreaves highlighted his concerns on the markets by claiming the current market volatility is the worst he has seen in his 30-year career.

Hargreaves, whose firm announced stellar half-year returns in the wake of market uncertainty, says there is no doubt we are now in a bear market thanks to numerous pressures.

“The fact is that this volatility in the markets shows there are so many tangibles now playing a role whether it be recession or inflation pressures or the fall in the sub-prime markets. You also have a UK and US government that are effectively a lame duck. We’ve got to see an understanding of a number of these before any change comes of it.”

That should cheer all the optimists left out there right up.


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