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By John Kenchington and Jenny Lowe | Published Aug 17, 2011

Ashcourt Rowan hires Jonathan Polin as chief executive

The board is bringing in Mr Polin on September 2 to turn around market sentiment towards the City-based wealth manager, which has seen its shares trade in the doldrums since late 2008.

Current chief executive Mark Cheshire is leaving the firm after being handed the top job just six months ago.

Mr Polin said ahead of the RDR there was an opportunity for Ashcourt to boost its market share through "both organic growth and strategic acquisition".

"Ashcourt Rowan has a strong brand within the industry, a good national footprint and an excellent team of investment managers and financial planners at its core," he said.

"The opportunity to utilise this platform to create a focused vertically integrated asset management and financial advice group is hugely exciting."

Ashcourt has also named Buzz West, who was appointed as interim chairman on August 1 following the departure of Peter Dew, as its full-time chairman. Steve Haines has been appointed as a non-executive director.

Mr Cheshire was first hired by Ashcourt, which was then called Syndicate Asset Management, in November 2009 and he was named as interim chief executive in December 2010, following the resignation of Jonathan Freeman.

In February 2011 Mr Cheshire was named as full-time chief executive, just before the group rebranded to Ashcourt Rowan as it sold off subsidiary businesses including institutional fixed income group Epic and Guernsey-based Zenith Funds.

However, the decision to scrap the non-core businesses failed to improve sentiment towards the firm. As at close of trading on Monday (August 15) Ashcourt shares were priced at 1.35p compared to 75p in 2008.

On Friday (August 12) the group reported a 21 per cent revenue rise to £35.1m in the year to March 31, but it also reported a £16.8m loss over the period.

Over seven years at Ignis, Mr Polin was the main driver of the group's retail strategy of launching joint venture firms with respected fund managers, including Cartesian, Argonaut, Hexam and Maia Capital.

But Ignis' chief executive Chris Samuel later decided to scrap the joint venture strategy and the group has sold down its stakes in the latter two ventures, leading Mr Polin to resign the firm earlier this year.

Before joinining Ignis in 2004 Mr Polin helped build Aberdeen Asset Management into one of the UK's biggest asset managers.

Mr Polin's appointment at Ashcourt also comes after its head of fund research Tim Cockerill and group investment director Guy Stephens resigned in July to join Rowan Dartington.

In addition, the group's chairman Peter Dew announced he was to step down earlier this month after just 15 months in the role.

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