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MLIM chief Jones leaves company

Merrill Lynch Investment Managers head of UK retail Michael Jones is leaving the group this week, with MLIM refusing to comment on the reasons for his departure.

Jones, who has been with MLIM for six years, is being replaced by marketing director Richard Royds, who joined the group in 1997 following its acquisition of Mercury Asset Management, where he ran the unit trust business.

Jones&#39s UK retail sales res-ponsibilities will be taken over by head of sales for continental Europe James Charrington, who has been with MLIM for more than 10 years. MLIM says it is unaware what Jones intends to do next. He was unavailable for comment.

Some IFAs believe Jones&#39 departure could be the result of MLIM&#39s perceived lack of commitment to the retail market, in which it is best known for its £440m gold & general fund, one of the strongest performers of its type.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier says: “I am not sure that Jones has been backed properly. I do not see – and never have seen – a clear commitment to the retail market from MLIM.”

Royds says: “The UK retail market is an enduringly vigorous industry. I am delighted to be once again taking over leadership of our UK retail business.”

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