Alliance Trust chief criticises predecessor for 'esoteric' plans

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Katherine Garrett-Cox, the chief executive at the 124-year-old Alliance Trust, has taken a swipe at her predecessor for moving the company into "esoteric assets, shall we say".

The Dundee-based investment company has refocused on stock market investments since Ms Garrett-Cox (right) took over from Alan Harden four years ago. She has reversed many of his expansion programmes, such as closing the £110m private-equity unit last year.

Ms Garrett-Cox said the "reality is our shareholders did not really like" the move away from equities. She conceded investors would find equities tough, but insisted "we can always find good companies" to buy shares in. In April, she saw off shareholder Laxey Partners, which wanted the group to outsource management of its assets, which stood at £2.8bn at the end of 2011.

Speaking at an Association of Investment Companies lunch last week, Ms Garrett-Cox said governments were seeking short-term solutions to economic problems.