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Webb to head fund admin firm

Peter Webb has re-entered the financial industry as chief executive officer (CEO) of Structured Investment Products (SIP), a fund administration business.

Webb has taken up the post 10 months after stepping down as chief executive of Unicorn Asset Management, the small-cap firm he founded in 2000.

During his time off, Webb says he was looking for a “small, clean financial services company” and he says he has found that in SIP.

“Here is a platform for me to build a more diverse strategy. It has the potential for new capital and acquisitions and I have some innovative ideas for the business.”

On April 21 SIP issued 22,200,000 ordinary shares to Webb, who paid £111,000 in return, making his stake in the company 29.98% of the enlarged capital.

Kim Berknov, the former CEO, stepped down to pass the role to Webb but will remain a non-executive director at SIP.

Webb hopes to boost capital by “building a powerful shareholder network of successful entrepreneurs who will marry their interests through SIP”.

He has no plans to launch a fund range at SIP or do anything similar to the Unicorn business he ran for eight years. There he ran Eaglet, a small-cap investment trust that was taken over by arbitrageurs shortly before Webb’s departure from Unicorn, and the Outstanding British Companies fund, which still exists.

“I have no plans to launch a Peter Webb fund but I may launch a company to raise money for SIP to take advantage of and invest in strategic stakes.”

However, he does hint there are plenty of small fund management groups that are in need of help, which he could acquire through SIP.

He continues to own 27% of Unicorn, which now has six funds and two venture capital trusts, all with small assets under management.

“Last year Unicorn did what many small firms did, and that was to batten down the hatches through the difficult period. The key for it now must be to acquire and merge, as it can survive alone, but it won’t grow alone. It needs scale to attract the good people.

“[Before I left] I wanted to sell it and recreate it, but I didn’t have the support, so now I have a stake in a business without any leadership. I am keen to see them do something positive, and it is perfectly within my ability to take them out, but I would like to see them move on without that.”

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