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Buxton expects Old Mutual deal by Christmas

Buxton expects Old Mutual deal by Christmas

Richard Buxton, the veteran fund manager and chief executive of Old Mutual Global Investors, expects news will be announced before Christmas about the future ownership of the business.

As FTAdviser reported on 4 September, Mr Buxton is working with private equity backers to potentially acquire Old Mutual Global Investors.

OMGI is being split from parent company Old Mutual in 2018 in a "managed separation."  

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Mr Buxton said the private equity firm with whom he is working are "long-term investors, not just backers who would look to flip (sell) the business after three years."

The fund manager said he could not talk in detail about any deal, but said he would expect developments to be announced before Christmas.

FTAdviser understands the company name would not change to incorporate Mr Buxton's name, as he feels such a move would be egotistical by him. 

Mr Buxton joined Old Mutual Global Investors from Schroders just over four years ago as manager of the Old Mutual UK Alpha fund.

The fund grew its assets to £2.3bn on 6 December.

The fund has drastically underperformed the IA UK All Companies sector over the past three years to 6 December, returning 14 per cent, compared with 26 per cent for the sector average.

Darius McDermott, managing director of Chelsea Financial Services, said the underperformance of the fund is related to the general weakness of value stocks in recent years, when compared to growth stocks, than it is to the fund manager having other responsibilities in the business. 

Mr Buxton said if he gets the chance "to do what I am trying to do with the business there will be more women on the executive committee than men." 

He said: "I think having more women on boards is good for business. I don't think RBS would have bought ABN Amro if there had been more women on the board, and I don't think Tesco would have tried to grow in America if there had been more women on the board."

The share prices of both RBS and Tesco suffered heavily in the wake of losses from those ventures.  

Mr McDermott said fund managers are people who buy companies.

He said: "The job of a fund manager is to buy companies for their clients, to understand businesses. So it would be very unusual for a fund manager to not have a view on how their own business should be run.

"It is clear Richard has been spending time on running the business as well as running his fund, but he has a very good team around him, and with his reputation I have no concerns."