R&M CEO to join Schroders in Solutions deal

R&M CEO to join Schroders in Solutions deal

River and Mercantile’s chief executive James Barham is joining Schroders as part of its purchase of R&M's fiduciary arm, Solutions.

River and Mercantile Solutions sold to Schroders for £230m.

As part of the deal River and Mercantile's chief executive Barham will move to Schroders to lead the R&M solutions business as well as take on a broader management role.

Alex Hoctor-Duncan, global head of Aberdeen Standard Investments, will replace Barham as chief executive of River and Mercantile. He will join the board as an executive director in November, as was previously announced. 

Hoctor-Duncan has been at ASI for three years. He was previously head of retail at BlackRock, where he spent nearly 22 years.

The sale comes after fund manager Martin Gilbert joined River and Mercantile's board in January this year. 

Gilbert, former chief executive and co-founder of Aberdeen Asset Management, was appointed deputy chairman of the board after he stood down as chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments in May 2020 after 37 years.

Gilbert's AssetCo has a stake in River and Mercantile of just over 5 per cent.

Barham said: “We have worked hard during this process to not only achieve the optimum valuation for shareholders, but also find the very best partner for our clients and people.

"I have been encouraged by the strong interest shown by the bidders and I believe that Schroders is the right choice and represents an excellent owner for the long- term future growth of the business.”

River and Mercantile Solutions has £42bn in assets under management. The £230m sale price represented a 28.2 per cent premium on its market cap of August 9, the day before the firm announced a potential sale. 

Jonathan Dawson, chairman of River and Mercantile, said: “We felt the company’s share price undervalued RMG and believed that the greatest value for shareholders could be unlocked through a formal sale process. 

“We believe that the price and terms that have been agreed are attractive and that Schroders will be a very good owner for the business."

River and Mercantile said its board will focus the firm as a specialist asset manager following the sale, offering a range of equity, private market and alternative products. 

In a statement today (October 26), the firm said it would also grow the firm’s investment capability, product range and geographic exposure.

“The proceeds will not only allow us to make a significant return of capital to shareholders, but also to focus on accelerating the organic and acquisitive growth of our specialist asset management business," Dawson said. 

Barham added: “I am thrilled to be joining Schroders and the opportunity to build on the exceptional Solutions platform we have developed over the last twenty years. 

“It has been a great honour to lead a simply fantastic business and to work with such incredibly talented people.”