Lord Stevens to leave Invesco MIM early: Long-standing directors depart as fund manager pushes ahead with reorganisation

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The Independent Online
LORD STEVENS of Ludgate has brought forward his departure from Invesco MIM, the fund manager tainted by its association with Robert Maxwell. He has been succeeded as chairman by Charles Brady, who replaced Lord Stevens as chief executive last July.

Invesco MIM is also parting with three long-standing non-executive directors: Lord Rippon, the former Tory minister, 68, Sir David Nicolson, the former BTR chairman, 70, and Kevin Ney, a former Arthur Andersen partner. Mr Brady said Lord Rippon was inactive at Invesco MIM.

He added that the group had pushed ahead with its reorganisation and Lord Stevens felt there was no need to remain until June, as planned. Mr Brady did not seek Lord Stevens' early departure, he said.

Invesco MIM is seeking non-executive chairmen and directors for three regional operating companies covering North America, the UK and Europe, and Japan and the Pacific.

Invesco MIM was announcing annual pre-tax profits down from pounds 14.5m to pounds 12.6m after the second successive exceptional charge of pounds 16.6m.

This year's debit includes the group's write-off of its entire pounds 5.9m holding in CM Group, the loss-making banking concern that is running off its loan book. Another pounds 5.2m was paid as compensation to Drayton Consolidated, the wretchedly performing investment trust that Invesco MIM used to manage.

The group had to pay another pounds 400,000 compensation because one of its unit trusts missed a 1988 share split by a foreign company it held. Mr Brady said Invesco MIM felt the blame lay with the custodian bank, but had agreed to share the compensation costs.

The group spent another pounds 4.5m on reorganisation costs and pounds 2.8m on a feasibility study to consider the flotation of the US business.

Bad publicity has damaged the UK business. Mr Brady said the UK arm had lost 'a modest' number of clients, but could not quantify the size of their funds. Only last weekend, it lost a takeover battle for its Drayton Asia investment trust. Stock market movements have left total UK funds under management little changed.

The UK's problems meant profits from the European and Pacific division tumbled from pounds 10.3m to pounds 2.6m (or from pounds 5.8m to a loss of pounds 7.6m after exceptional costs). Mr Brady said he had incurred a lot of expenses bringing in SG Warburg and Freshfields to review the business.

Profits from North America, where Invesco has about pounds 26bn of the pounds 40bn it manages, rose from pounds 26.9m to pounds 32.9m. In dollars, operating profits rose by 22 per cent. Growth has continued so far this year: 'If the dollar's strength compared to sterling is maintained this should result in a significantly increased contribution to the group's profits in 1993.'.

As it warned at the interims, Invesco MIM is paying a reduced dividend of 2p to halve the total payout to 3p a share. This is still in excess of earnings, which rose from 2.3p to 2.5p a share.

Mr Brady said: 'I firmly intend to ensure that the Invesco name enjoys the same reputation in the UK as throughout the rest of the world.'