Jupiter share scheme ties in staff

Jupiter Asset Management has created a new equity share scheme to lock in senior fund managers and executives to the group.

To be part of the scheme, which runs alongside the group’s existing share option scheme and bonus plans, the managers have put up substantial capital sums to receive an allocation of “phantom” shares – Jupiter is owned by Commerzbank – in the group.

While the shares will be reallocated yearly, they have to be held for a certain period before they can be redeemed. Fund Strategy understands this to be five years.

The introduction of the scheme follows the payout last year of a similar lock-in, which ran for four years. Jupiter says that all of the group’s senior fund managers, who include Anthony Nutt, Philip Gibbs and Alex Darwall, have signed up to the scheme, effectively locking them into the group until 2011.

While a percentage of the shares will be linked to Jupiter’s growth, to maximise payments under the new scheme, managers also have to satisfy certain performance targets.

The details of the scheme followed last week’s announcement from Commerzbank that the group is considering floating Jupiter on the London Stock Exchange.

A spokesperson from Commerzbank tells Fund Strategy: “We are checking into the possibility and suitability of an initial public offering. However, we have set no specific deadlines yet and have made no decisions.”

According to Jupiter, the announcement of the potential IPO was to stop the circulation of rumours in the market. It says both it and Commerzbank will look to make a decision by the end of the year, but as yet not even an adviser has been appointed.

As at the end of April 2006, Jupiter ran total assets under management of 16.9bn, of which 11bn was in its unit trusts.

In 2005, the group recorded pre-tax profits of 45m, up from 31.7m in 2004. Turnover was up from 100.4m in 2004 to 127m, an increase of 26%.

In 2005 it recorded gross inflows of 1.9bn into its unit trust business, against inflows of 1.1bn in 2004.