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Horlick admits to ABN talks

Nicola Horlick, the "superwoman" fund manager who has resigned from Morgan Grenfell Asset Management, admitted for the first time yesterday that she had held preliminary talks this month with ABN Amro, a rival firm.

Previously she had said that allegations about her moving to a rival firm had been sparked by a lunch she attended late last year with a close friend at ABN Amro.

MGAM is alleging that she breached her contract by attempting to solicit staff for a rival firm. She denies this and is considering whether to bring legal action against MGAM for "constructive dismissal".

She said yesterday that talks with ABN Amro were of an "informal and preliminary nature" and that at no stage did she provide ABN Amro with confidential information.

"The talks terminated several days before I was suspended," Mrs Horlick said. "My aim was always to keep the clients and the team together for the benefit of all."

Mrs Horlick, given her nickname for her ability to juggle a demanding social life and job, hit the headlines last week after her acrimonious departure.

The latter comment did little to quell rumours that she had been considering a management buyout of MGAM's pension funds business. Her spokesman said she had never made such a proposal and that her acknowledgement of "informal and preliminary" talks with ABN Amro did not alter her previous stance.