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GAM appoints chief executive after bond fund debacle

GAM appoints chief executive after bond fund debacle

Fundhouse GAM has appointed a chief executive as it seeks to move on from the fiasco experienced in its bond funds business.

The company has hired former Blackrock executive Peter Sanderson as chief executive, replacing Alexander Friedman.

Mr Friedman left in November following a period of severe turbulence for the firm following the suspension and closure of its range of Absolute Return Bond funds. 

The funds were run by Tim Heywood, who subsequently left the firm. There were concerns about the level of due diligence Mr Heywood was performing on the less liquid investments in the fund, and his relationship with certain firms issuing the bonds. 

There were also concerns that record keeping of the due diligence carried out and the meetings he had with bond issuers was not adequate. 

The fund manager was suspended in August, and the range of nine absolute return funds he managed were later closed.

They had total assets at the time of the closure of £7.3bn.

The liquidation of the funds was completed at the start of July, with investors receiving 100.5 per cent of the book value of the bonds on the day they were suspended. 

News of Mr Heywood’s suspension and the events around it, caused the GAM share price to fall by 27 per cent.   

Mr Sanderson held a number of roles at Blackrock, including chief investment officer for Solutions EMEA. 

He will take over from interim chief executive David Jacob, who will become chairman. 

Mr Sanderson joins GAM at a time when the latest results for the company, released this morning (July 30), showed assets under management for the investment management business have fallen from £46.5bn to £43.1bn, in the six months to the end of June 2019.

But the company stated that it had attracted net inflows in June and July. 

david.thorpe@ft.com