EuropeanNov 23 2015

‘I’d far rather have nobody than somebody I didn’t like’

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Richard Pease’s “contractual” agreement with Henderson, which allowed him to take his European Special Situations fund with him when he left to set up Crux Asset Management early this year, was not a commonplace industry arrangement.

While the clause in his contract was simple in theory, in practice it took longer to move the fund across to Crux. Mr Pease’s move was announced in October last year. But it’s only since June that the fund has been firmly established as part of the new asset management group. “It looks clumsy with hindsight, even though it wasn’t,” he admits.

But how did he convince Henderson to give him the contract in the first place? It all came about after the company’s acquisition of his Crux employer, New Star Asset Management, in 2009.

“Andrew Formica, who is the [Henderson] CEO, had done his first acquisition with New Star, which was an incredibly ballsy, well-timed acquisition of a troubled business at what turned out to be a bargain price, but he did need to keep a few people. And I was one of the people he needed to keep, I suppose, putting it simply.”

For Mr Pease, the decision was not so easy. Until that point he had only ever worked at smaller boutique asset managers, such as New Star and Jupiter Asset Management, and preferred it that way.

He recalls: “I was a little undecided, genuinely so, because I hadn’t worked for a bigger organisation since forever, really.

“I just felt that it might be better for me to take a bit of a breather and think about life and do something for somebody else. So I had actually resigned and Andrew was very persuasive, and over supper he came up with a different sort of proposition.

“And so that’s how I got the contract, but I think it’s fair to point out Henderson have done very well out of it. It has been a good business deal for them.”

He acknowledges that when the time came to set up Crux Asset Management, the arrangement meant that he did not run the usual risks associated with starting a new UK retail fund and building credibility in the industry. At the end of September, the European Special Situations fund had £981m in assets.

Mark Little, Crux’s distribution director, seems to have played a crucial role in Mr Pease’s decision to leave Henderson after several years and go it alone with Crux.