David Prosser: Gartmore misery not shared by Meyer

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The Independent Online

Outlook Gartmore may have been sold to Henderson in a deal best described as a rescue mission, but the farce continues. The investment company is due to take possession of Gartmore in a couple of months' time – the question is what it will actually receive.

Thanks to the departure of its most high-profile fund managers, Gartmore saw almost a quarter of its assets under management flow out of the door during 2010, its annual report revealed yesterday, with funds down from £22.2bn to £17.2bn. And despite the Henderson deal, the rush for the exit does not appear to be slowing – another £810m has gone since the start of the year.

No doubt Henderson's marketing team is working overtime to soothe the concerns of investors who have so far stayed put – pointing out that it has already secured commitments from Gartmore fund managers representing 84 per cent of assets under management that they will transfer across.

But how long will they stick around? In an industry where human capital is everything, human capital has often proved very quick to change horses where even a hint of dissatisfaction presents itself, as it so often does when two companies come together. And rival fund managers keen to poach that precious human capital show no mercy.

One man definitely moving on, however, is Jeffrey Meyer, Gartmore's chief executive. As this paper revealed a month ago, he will do so with a pay-off of £5m, having steered Gartmore from a flotation price of 220p in 2009 to Henderson's take-out price of around 92p. As rewards for failure go, this is a biggie. Once he's gone, fat cheque in his pocket, Henderson will have to pick up the pieces.