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This week in Investment

Alan Miller has not had the greatest time of late although observers may find it a little hard to feel sorry for someone who is after all still a multimillionaire.

After the year he has had, Miller was probably not too delighted to find himself on sabbatical until the end of the year from his job as chief investment officer and UK hedge fund manager at New Star.

Miller was involved in a high profile and acrimonious divorce last year that cost him 5m and at the same time his UK hedge fund has also suffered as Miller may have understandably taken his eye off the ball.

While the FTSE all share has returned over 8 per cent year to date, Miller’s fund has fallen by over 15 per cent and the company has announced that he will take a break to spend more time with his new wife and young family.

What happens when and if he returns remains a mystery. New Star insist he will come back to the fold although some sources are convinced that he will never return.

Five years ago New Star founder John Duffield took Miller and Richard Pease with him from Jupiter to set up the group. They were his first two big name managers and that might just count for something, even for the famously demanding Duffield.

Duffield told Money Marketing in a recent interview that he hates to sack anyone for underperformance and prefers to move them around the company instead.

Time will tell whether this fate awaits Alan Miller, or whether he will return to running his hedge fund in the New year.

Current deputy CIO Gregor Logan is stepping up to the CIO role and Guy Crossland has been recruited from his senior analyst position at Investec to run Miller’s UK hedge fund.

Insiders believe Logan will keep his CIO role if Miller returns, but Crossland may well step aside on the hedge fund.

Insight’s proposed spin off of its property asset management arm later this month will also be watched closely. The new company, Invista, will be floated on AIM to avoid combined code issues with FTSE-listed Insight, according to chief executive Duncan Owen, who will also move across to the new operation along with City heavyweight Alistair Ross Goobey.

Invista will begin with around 8bn assets under mangement and will look to expand rapidly according to Owen. Parent company HBOS say they will look to raise an initial 100m to put towards new property funds.

Currently only 1bn of its assets are in European or UK residential property, so expect the group to attempt an aggressive expansion with HBOS backing into these areas soon as they currently represent just two of Invista’s 15 real estate funds.

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