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Alliance Trust accelerates director search process

Alliance Trust accelerates director search process

Alliance Trust has accelerated the process of finding a new, “truly independent” non-executive director this summer, appointing search firm Russell Reynolds to undertake a review of the market.

The group’s first quarter update explained that the search will be based on an assessment of the needs and challenges of the business and the skills and experience required to complement those of existing board members.

Crucially, it added that as part of the process any candidates put forward by shareholders will be considered.

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Shareholders are set to vote later this month on whether to appoint three new non-executive directors proposed by activist investor Elliott Advisors to boost oversight of the executive.

A tit-for-tat battle for power has broken out over recent weeks between Elliott, which has built up a 12 per cent stake in Alliance Trust since 2010, with the hedge fund accusing the firm of poor performance and governance.

In today’s (14 April) update, Alliance Trust Investments ended the first quarter of this year with over £2bn of third party assets under management, with a pipeline of prospective institutional clients and the Monthly Income Bond Fund generating £26.2m of net inflows during the period

Meanwhile, Alliance Trust Savings increased account numbers and assets under administration reached £7bn in March, before the pension changes earlier this month and before the upgrade to the intermediary platform in the summer.

Katherine Garrett-Cox, chief executive of Alliance Trust, said that she believes the overall strategy is working.

“Both of our subsidiaries have also shown very encouraging progress and continue to grow, with Alliance Trust Investments seeing the strongest ever quarterly net inflows in its bond funds and Alliance Trust Savings exceeding £7bn in assets under administration for the first time.”

As for investors, the share price exceeded 500p for the first time in March, hitting an all-time high of 523p, while the five-year annualised total shareholder return was 11 per cent - ahead of the 9.9 per cent median for its peers - while annualised volatility for the same period was just 11.9 per cent - below the 13.2 per cent peer median.

peter.walker@ft.com