Gartmore chiefs fall as axe swings

Karl Bergqwist, the co-head of Gartmore’s fixed income team, and Ashley Willing, the co-manager of the Gartmore UK Focus fund, became the latest victims of the job cuts in the asset management industry.

The two managers were joined by Simon Clark, the group’s sales head, and Julian Hince, head of strategic partners, in being made redundant last week as part of plans announced the previous month to cut the head count by between 60 and 75.

While the UK Focus fund has struggled with its performance, losing 46.2% over three years, Gartmore’s fixed income team was highly thought of in the industry.

“They were co-managers of pretty big funds,” says Darius McDermott, the managing director of Chelsea Financial Services (pictured).

“It really is difficult to establish who is the brains on co-managed funds. We will keep our buy rating on the bond fund for the moment, but we will be visiting them in the new year.”

Elsewhere in the industry a spokesperson for Aberdeen confirmed that back-office staff numbers would be cut and 200 people who worked on the property management side of the business have been transferred off payroll to an outsourcing company.

F&C also saw departures, with Robin Brown, sales director for strategic partners, and Andrew Dolan, investment funds sales director, leaving the firm as part of a restructuring of the sales team. Further cuts are expected after Fidelity announced in October that it may axe up to 10% of its European workforce, resulting in the loss of “several hundred” jobs.

On top of this, both Threadneedle and New Star outlined plans for staff reductions last month.

The former released a statement that said it was considering a reduction of 75 to 85 members of its team in Britain, while up to 16% of New Star’s 380-strong staff face redundancy.

Ben Yearsley, senior investment manager at Hargreaves, says the staff reductions are a logical, albeit perhaps forced, response to a deteriorating outlook for the industry.

“There isn’t much buying going on, so if you’re in one of the stronger groups such as Invesco you’re probably doing okay this year,” he says.

“But the industry as a whole has seen outflows and present staffing numbers are unsustainable. It’s a good excuse to get rid of dead wood.”