Gartmore gearing up for part flotation

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GARTMORE, the leading pension fund manager, is planning a partial flotation next year.

Banque Indosuez, the French investment banking group that bought Gartmore three years ago, intends to maintain a controlling stake if the listing goes ahead. Bernard Simon-Barboux, an executive vice-president of Indosuez, said the study of the implications was still at an early stage and the fund manager's flotation would not take place before the end of the year.

Gartmore has increased funds under management from pounds 6.6bn to pounds 14.5bn since it became part of Indosuez in April 1990. Gartmore has been particularly successful in attracting new pension fund money, helped by good investment performance. It comfortably outstripped its rivals last year to head the Independent's performance league table for pension fund managers.

Mr Simon-Barboux said: 'It's probably good timing to get a listing on the London Stock Exchange.' Both he and Paul Myners, Gartmore's chairman, said there was further growth to come.

Mr Simon-Barboux said a listing would help Gartmore's recognition in the market. The move was not a cash-rasing exercise for Indosuez, which has suffered heavily in the Paris property slump. 'The money is too small to make any difference to Indosuez,' he said.

Comparisons with other quoted fund managers like Mercury Asset Management and Henderson Administration suggest Gartmore would be valued at pounds 300m or more. Indosuez paid pounds 140m for it.

Gartmore would not disclose its profits. Mr Myners said the structure of the company to be floated has still to be decided.

He said: 'In the three years we have been owned by Indosuez we have always been quite independent. I think (a flotation) will reinforce that fact to our clients.