F&C calls on shareholders to vote against Sherborne

F&C has called on shareholders to vote against Sherborne Investors’ plans to remove chairman Nick MacAndrew and Brian Lacombe from the asset manager’s board.

Sherbourne, which has built up a 17.5% stake in the asset manager, wants to appoint founder Edward Bramson as well as Ian Brindle and Derham O’Neill to the board, with the hope of Bramson taking on the chairman’s role.

Sherborne has requisitioned a general meeting to propose these changes on February 3, 2011.

F&C says that its current strategy is working and that these calls by Sherborne are both damaging and destabilising to the business.

Keith Bedell-Pearce, a senior independent director at F&C, says that not only is the move not in the best interest of shareholders it may also have a negative impact on the asset managers’ relations with other key shareholders including key staff, clients, investment consultants, financial advisers, fund rating agencies and distribution partners. (article continues below)

He says: “The resolutions come at a time when stability has finally been achieved after a prolonged period of damaging ownership uncertainty and when the board is united around a clear turnaround strategy, which is working.”

F&C says its current strategy is working well, pointing to improved investment performance over the past three years as well gaining net inflows for the first nine months of 2010. The group also completed the acquisition of leading investment boutique Thames River Capital in September 2010.

Nick MacAndrew, the F&C chairman says: “Sherborne has requisitioned this general meeting without putting forward an alternative strategy and at a time when stability has finally been achieved. Sherborne’s actions have risked creating renewed uncertainty over the business. Our strategy is working, the results are coming through and this unwelcome and opportunistic move by Sherborne is damaging to the business and is not in the best interests of our shareholders.”